Highways England (HE) is proposing that an 18 mile-long (29km) section of the A14 in Cambridgeshire will be classified as a motorway once work on a major upgrade project on the route is completed.
HE is nearly halfway through the £1.5bn (US$1.9bn) project to improve 21 miles (33.8km) of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntington; it is the biggest road upgrade currently in construction in the UK.
The improvement work 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 that have proved to 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. 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.
Later this year, HE 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 A14 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 the 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. The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme is being delivered on behalf of HE by a joint venture of four UK contractors and two design consultants: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain and Skanska, and for design, Atkins and CH2M. The project partnership is known as the A14 Integrated Delivery Team.
“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,” explained HE’s A14 project director, David Bray.
“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 said, “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 recognized as being able to help kick start the national economy, and unblocking the A14 plays an important part in that.”