Thursday, 27 June 2013

A14 Improvements Welcomed

News that major improvements to the A14 are to be funded and start early has been welcomed by campaigning councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the East.

The group of organisations, brought together by Cambridgeshire County Council, has been campaigning for the much needed improvements to the congested and accident blighted road.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP confirmed the Government would be bringing forward the £1.5 billion project to improve the A14 with a provisional start date of 2016.

He said it was strategically important for jobs, housing and growth in the region.

The group of Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships is also helping to fund the scheme after offering a £100million finance package.

The A14 is a nationally and internationally important road and vital for the health of the local and UK economy. But traffic is often at a grinding halt, journey times are unreliable and accidents are common. This puts off businesses from growing or moving here and harms trade and job creation. The A14 is also vital to help bring forward major developments such as Northstowe.

The County Council has campaigned for many years for improvements to the road and has been instrumental in setting up the recent review of the road that has allowed this announcement to be made.

The Chief Secretary also announced that plans for the scheme will be moved forward with a provisional start date of 2016 rather than the previous target date 2018. This was called for by the group of Eastern Region organisations as a requirement of their financial contribution to the scheme.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, Martin Curtis, said: “This is fantastic news and I would like to thank all our partners and the Government for working so closely with us on bringing forward this scheme. Not long ago this was not even on the Government’s agenda and it took hard work and lobbying by us and partners to put this back on the table. We now have a golden opportunity to sort out the problems on the A14 once and for all and get our local economy moving and reduce the appalling accident record. We are very pleased that the Government has listened to our arguments about bringing forward the scheme to an earlier date. Moving people, data and goods around this County effectively is key to continuing our economic success. This announcement today gives us light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel. We will now concentrate on working with Government to make sure the scheme is delivered as quickly and effectively as possible.”