A14 proposals

This article was published in 2014, in Newsletter 114.

Highways Agency proposal for revised junction on the A14 at Girton.
Image as described adjacent

The A14 is going to be super-sized. Gone will be the days when there were only two lanes in each direction for the majority of the route, for there are plans to convert this to four lanes in each direction between Bar Hill and Girton, and three lanes in each direction elsewhere between Ellington west of the A1 and Milton north of Cambridge. There will also be a ‘local access road’ that will be a single carriageway to take the ‘non-strategic traffic’ off the main road. It is this local access road that could hold some significant benefits for people who want to cycle to Bar Hill, Madingley, or further afield.

In terms of the cycling aspects, the current plans from the Highways Agency are probably best described as ‘not too bad’. They are nowhere near what you’d find in the Netherlands or Denmark, but are certainly better than what you’d find pretty much anywhere else in the UK. For example, there are proposals for a cycle track from Bar Hill to Girton on the north- eastern side of the A14, as well as a cycle track along the local access road to the Crematorium. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there is no link to the village of Girton itself, nor to Bar Hill without crossing many high speed roads and junctions.

The plans do a fairly admirable job of getting people cycling away from the main traffic junctions, both at Bar Hill and Swavesey. At Swavesey, for example, there is a new bridge over the A14 carriageways and the local access road (so all 8 lanes, not counting shoulders and cycle tracks) and then avoiding the main service station roundabout. This would allow those not yet able or willing to drive to access the service station safely.

However, there are also significant missing bits. For example, there are no cycle tracks along the new or old A14 north or west of Fenstanton. There is no way to cycle to the Wood Green Animal Shelter even though the new A14 goes very close by. There is also no cycle track proposed over the East Coast Main Line or the Great Ouse; not to mention that bicycle access to the Brampton Hut service station on the A1 is only via the A1(M) junction with the Thrapston Road (old A14). We will be pushing for such links to be provided.

There will be no public inquiry. Consultation ends on 15 June 2014. There is also a question of what happens to the old A14 when it reaches Huntingdon. The proposal is to feed it all into the old Brampton Road where it crosses the railway and remove the ugly and worn out viaduct. If this is the case, then why does the old A14 between Fenstanton and Huntingdon still need to be a four-lane roadway with no bus or cycle track? The A14 scheme is also following a new process whereby the application is being rapidly consulted upon before being approved by central government. There will be no public inquiry. If you want to provide feedback on these applications you must do it now.

Robin Heydon

Post Script

Link to consultation flyer is below. The ten week consultation period ends on 15 June 2014. http://assets.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement/A14C2H_Public_Consultation_Flyer_v1.pdf