Plans to create the first unbroken motorway link between London and Peterborough have been announced.
Highways England is proposing for an 18-mile section of the A14 in Cambridgeshire to be classified as a motorway once upgrade work is complete, bringing economic and safety benefits, under plans it announced today (Friday, September 7).
It says the move will create an unbroken motorway link between London and Peterborough and will increase safety and improve journeys by encouraging local and long-distance traffic onto the most suitable routes.
Highways England is nearly half way through the £1.5bn project to improve 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon – the biggest road upgrade currently in construction in the UK.
That means the main section of the A14 upgrade between the M11 and the A1(M) can have the benefits of a motorway – including variable speed limits which reduce congestion and help traffic move more smoothly. The motorway section of the improved road will be called the A14(M) when it opens in 2020.
Highways England project director David Bray said: “We want the A14 upgrade to be the safest and best road it can possibly be, and we now have an opportunity to make our already robust plans even better by putting the right traffic onto the right roads when the new A14 opens to traffic.
“Creating a motorway link between the A1(M) and the M11 will mean motorists and hauliers carrying goods across the country will be able to travel more smoothly and safely, while local and slow moving traffic will benefit from the new routes we are introducing.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates added: “The A14 was completely off the agenda until we led a charge with local MPs and partner councils to get the much-needed improvements on this congested road. We fully support the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon major upgrade, which is why we contributed financially.
“The A14 becoming a motorway will improve connectivity from the M11 to the A1 at Alconbury and will serve Peterborough. The upgrade of this road is vital to boost the local economy and create jobs. Cambridgeshire’s economy is recognised as being able to help kick start the national economy and unblocking the A14 plays an important part in that.”
Later this year, Highways England will formally ask the Planning Inspectorate to amend the road’s status from trunk road to motorway, in time for the project opening in 2020. The Secretary of State for Transport will then make the final decision next year.
If the change is given the go ahead, motorway status will also be extended to a three-mile section of the A1 from Alconbury to Brampton, which will be re-named as A1(M).
The A14 upgrade already includes new routes for local traffic, which will be usable by non-motorway traffic, as well as improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
Work on building the £1.5bn upgrade to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon started in November 2016. The project includes widening a total of seven miles of the A14 in each direction (across two sections), a major new bypass south of Huntingdon, widening a three-mile section of the A1 and demolition of a viaduct at Huntingdon.
For more details about the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme, visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/a14c2h, follow @HighwaysEast and @A14C2H on Twitter and visit the scheme’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/A14C2H/