Heidi Allen, MP for South Cambridgeshire put residents’ concerns to the A14 Project Team at an early New Year visit to the A14 Project Offices in Swavesey on Thursday 3rd January. Heidi was joined by local County Councillor Lynda Harford and local District Councillor, Ruth Betson at the ‘positive meeting’ which was convened by Heidi in order to raise concerns that had been brought to her attention since the start of the improvement works.
The Project Team were pleased to report that the project has now passed the half-way stage, with completion on track for December 2020. The team acknowledged that the significant infrastructure project which has involved more than 8 million working hours, the opening of 9 bridges and movement of more 8 million cubic metres of earthworks has caused disruption to local residents and they were keen to listen to Heidi’s points about the strain that this has put on local communities and road users.
Improvements and mitigations to the disruption were discussed at the meeting and every point raised by Heidi was actioned for further investigation within the team. It was acknowledged that better planning held the key to mitigating the most severe impacts and Lynda Harford, as County Councillor for Bar Hill Division promised to continue to work closely with the team in 2019 to plan ahead for the benefit of local communities.
Heidi raised a number of issues at the meeting, particularly around practical problems such as inefficient signage and communication with local parish councils and other bodies. Highways England have recognised these problems where they exist and pledged to work harder to address these in the second phase of the project.
Heidi said: “I was pleased to represent constituents’ concerns to Highways England at this important meeting. The A14 works is a major infrastructure upgrade which will, when completed, be of significant benefit to the local area. However, I recognise that the construction period has been challenging for some local businesses and residents and I have shared these concerns with Highways England frequently so that all possible mitigations can be explored as quickly as possible.”
In the coming months Highways England’s Mobile Visitor Centre will be revisiting Bar Hill ahead of planned works to demolish the original bridge.
If you are a constituent of South Cambridgeshire with ongoing concerns over the management of the A14 upgrade, Heidi would encourage you to get in touch with Highways England directly via the contact details here: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme-keep-in-touch/
Alternatively, you might like to contact your county councillor. To find out who this is, enter your postcode on the following webpage:https://cmis.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/ccc_live/Councillors.aspx
During the meeting Heidi also raised the issue of the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet Improvement Scheme. The preferred route announcement was expected before Christmas 2018, but unfortunately incorporating outputs from the A1 East of England Strategic Study has caused the announcement to be pushed back into 2019. Commenting Heidi said, " Whilst the delay is disappointing incorporating traffic modelling and outputs from the East of England Strategic Study is vital to ensure a long term solution for the A428 is identified which meets the needs of local communities and road users through the region. I have received assurances from both Highways England and the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling, that an announcement will be made by Spring 2019 at the very latest and so I look forward to receiving confirmation of completion of this vital piece of work to move the scheme forward towards application for the Development Consent Order and a construction start date of 2021/22."