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Government reveals A14 tolling plan

The government yesterday unveiled plans to toll part of a planned upgrade of the A14 in Cambridgeshire.

Subject to local authority agreements and decisions at the next Spending Review construction work could begin by 2018.

The plans include a new bypass to replace the existing road around Huntingdon and upgrades along the A14 as far east as Milton. Two new roads would be built in parallel to, with one on each side of, the current A14 immediately north of Cambridge for local use. Meanwhile, the existing A14 carriageway will be upgraded through the removal of accesses and junctions, and improvements to junctions at the northern and southern ends.

Study work has confirmed that funding for these can be generated in part through tolling a length of the enhanced A14, featuring around 30km of new or widened road. However, more work will be taken to determine the best tolling solution, including what length the tolled section should be, how users would pay and what the tariff should be.

The schemes will now enter the DfT roads programme and begin detailed design and statutory processes. They are dependent on local government and commercial decision making and will now be considered in more detail by the relevant local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.

The A14 road improvement package includes:

  • Widening of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Milton and Girton and enhancement of the Girton Interchange;
  • Provision of high standard roads for local traffic use running in parallel to an enhanced A14 carriageway between Girton and the area near the current Trinity Foot A14 junction;
  • Construction of a bypass to the south of Huntingdon between the area near Trinity Foot and the A1, at both ends tying in with the existing A14.

A major road scheme between Ellington and Fen Ditton was cancelled in 2010 on affordability grounds. Since then the DfT has been working with local authorities and businesses through the A14 Challenge on alternatives to the previous scheme. Today’s announcement is the outcome of this work.

The government has also identified a package of desirable rail investment that will include major improvements at Ely, Peterborough and Leicester, which will enable more freight to be carried by rail between Felixstowe and Nuneaton. The Secretary of State has allocated £200M to the Strategic Freight Network to fund network enhancements of this kind at the request of the rail freight industry.

Readers' comments (3)

  • John Mather

    Looks promising; an integrated approach with long-distance (strategic) traffic separated from short-distance local traffic and (possibly) an incentive for private sector investment through the introduction of tolls for new capacity. We need to know more. Could this approach be applied to the M1 or the M6?

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  • Does anyone out there know if the M6 Toll Road makes any money? It is quite expensive and not used as much as it was thought it would be. Could this happen to the A14 if separate local road are built?

    We pay enough now for using the roads!

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  • I think this may work if the speed limits on the dual carriageway are kept at national speed limit and are reduced sufficiently on the new local roads to prevent these becoming "free alternatives" to the main toll route.

    We definitely should look to the use of NPR cameras and online register and payment rather than toll plazas.

    I don't agree in principle with toll roads but their strategic use could be used to alter areas with extreme traffic flows provided we protect the surrounding areas from rat running. Perhaps the toll should be peak times only and provide free access off peak to keep the wagons off the road during the peak commuter hours.

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