A14 improvement scheme to be completed 6 months ahead of schedule

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:1st June 2021

Traffic cones lined up on road, cars passing by

Highways England has announced one of the nation’s most ambitious and important infrastructure projects is set to be completed in the very near future, six months ahead of schedule. The £1.5 billion A14 improvement scheme was scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, but engineers now expect to open the new road to all traffic by the end of spring.

Building new routes for the future of UK transport

Work on the project began in November 2016. It saw an ambitious programme of works to create an entirely new carriageway for travellers between the east of England and the Midlands.

It witnessed the recent opening of the new 12-mile bypass south of Huntingdon in December and the full 21 miles of the project is now coming to a close.

Once finished, it will mark the end of permanent roadworks in the area – something businesses and travellers will be extremely pleased to hear. The scheme will also complement ongoing efforts to improve accessibility for the UK’s busiest container port at Felixstowe.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The A14 is a vital route used by 85,000 drivers every day, including more than 21,000 hauliers transporting essential goods around the country.

“Opening this scheme more than six months early and on budget shows what the UK construction industry can achieve working with Highways England on the Strategic Road Network. I would like to thank them for their focus on our joint success and for their one-team approach.”

What did the project entail?

As previously mentioned, work at the site has seen the creation of the new Huntingdon bypass, which will significantly improve traffic flows in the surrounding area. In addition to this, engineers are now in the process of dismantling the old A14 railway viaduct, as well as creating new link roads into Huntingdon.

Ownership and management of the old A14, now known as the A1307, will soon be handed over to Cambridgeshire County Council, with the route being used as a local access road running parallel to the new A14.

As part of the scheme, a number of major milestones have been achieved, including the sourcing and transport of nearly ten million cubic metres of earth needed to build the carriageway, as well as the use of innovative technologies – autonomous dump trucks and a line-painting robot – to reduce the risks to road workers on-site.

Roads minister Baroness Vere concluded: “Investing in key transport links such as this is part of this government’s plan to level up access across the country, ensuring all regions are better connected and improving journeys for all.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “It’s fantastic news to hear of the early completion of this important project. The A14 is a vital trunk route for the UK and these improvements will have a positive economic impact for the whole of the country.”