Britain’s biggest road project is set to be completed more than half a year early and on budget, Highways England has revealed.
The £1.5 billion A14 improvement scheme was originally due to be reopened to the public near the end of 2020 but has now been brought forward to this spring.
Designed to improve journeys between the East of England and the Midlands, already five million vehicles have benefited from a 12-mile stretch of the 21-mile route that opened over a year early in December 2019.
Highways England chief executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said, “The A14 is a vital route used by 85,000 drivers every day, including more than 21,000 hauliers transporting essential goods around the country.
“Opening this scheme more than six months early and on budget shows what the UK construction industry can achieve working with Highways England on the Strategic Road Network.
“This road is not just a piece of national infrastructure – it brings benefits to the region and local towns and communities too.”
Work on the project began back in November 2016, employing approximately 13,000 people.
In addition to the 21-miles of road for vehicles, nearly 24 miles of new routes for cyclists, walkers and horse riders have also been included in the project.
Highways England has been able to demonstrate a number of safety and environmental best practice measures through the A14 scheme, including: the building of bridges at the side of the road to minimise road closures, 100% use of renewable electricity and non-potable water, trialing of autonomous dump trucks and a line painting robot to reduce the risks to road-workers on-site, sourcing much of the 10 million3 metres of earth locally and transporting it via haul roads to minimise the use of the road network.
Roads Mnister, Baroness Vere, said, “I’m delighted that the A14 upgrade will open ahead of schedule, not only meaning drivers will benefit from quicker and safer journeys sooner, but also ensuring that key access between the region’s ports and the West Midlands will be boosted.
“Investing in key transport links such as this is part of this Government’s plan to level up access across the country, ensuring all regions are better connected and improving journeys for all.”