Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has given the go-ahead to the £1.5bn upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
Following the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, the secretary of state gave a green light to the Highways England project, which includes a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon and widening part of the existing road between Swavesey and Girton and part of the A14 Cambridge northern bypass.
It also involves widening a section of the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury and demolishing the A14 viaduct at Huntingdon.
Artist impression of the A14 scheme over the River Great Ouse
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘On behalf of the Secretary of State, we have confirmed we agree with the panel’s findings and recommendation, and have given approval. We look forward to working with Highways England as the project progresses.’
The project was defined as a nationally significant infrastructure project and therefore required both assessment by the Planning Inspectorate and for the transport secretary to make a development consent order.
This order contains the consent and other authorisations, for example to purchase land compulsorily, that the developer needs to construct and operate the project.
Highways England welcomed the decision and said the £1.5bn scheme is now on target for main construction work to start late this year with further details to be announced ‘in due course’.
Highways England said the new bypass and widened A14 will open to traffic in 2020, 'although some finishing work such as the removal of the A14 viaduct in Huntingdon will continue beyond that with occasional road closures'.
Three contracts have been awarded for the scheme:
- Contract 1, which involves the detailed design of the whole scheme, was awarded to Atkins CH2M joint venture in June 2015.
- Contract 2, which includes two construction packages for the new bypass – the first from the A1 at Alconbury to the East Coast Mainline and the second from the east of the East Coast Mainline to Swavesey, was awarded to Costain Skanska joint venture in June 2015.
- Contract 3, which covers widening the existing A14 from Swavesey to Milton, was awarded in September 2015 to Balfour Beatty Carillion joint venture.
A fourth package of work for the demolition of the viaduct over the East Coast Mainline at Huntingdon and associated works will be tendered in 2019.
Major local contributions to the scheme include:
- • Greater Cambridgeshire/Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership – £50m
- • Cambridgeshire County Council – £25m
- • Huntingdonshire District Council – £5m
- • South Cambridgeshire District Council – £5m