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Highways Agency announces stop-gap solution for A14

A scheme to strengthen the viaduct that carries the A14 over the East Coast Main Line railway in Huntingdon has been announced by the Highways Agency.

Design work will be carried out this year with a view to construction work being carried out during 2013.

The strengthening work will keep the viaduct in a serviceable condition while proposals for capacity improvements on the A14 corridor are developed by the Department for Transport through the A14 Challenge.

The Huntingdon Railway Viaduct has been showing gradual signs of deterioration for a number of years and a monitoring system has been in place to alert the Highways Agency when maintenance is needed. The work announced today will provide a longer term solution.

The Highways Agency is working with Cambridgeshire County Council to get its agreement for steel beams to be installed below the viaduct, strengthening the bridge deck and spreading the load between different components on the bridge to prolong its serviceable life. Work will start late in 2012, and will continue into 2013.

The Highways Agency expects to appoint a contractor in the summer and start work in December.

A14 Challenge

Proposals for the £1bn A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton Improvement scheme were scrapped following the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010. Chancellor George Osborne described the scheme as “unaffordable under any future funding scenario. The A14 Challenge was announced in the 2011 Autumn Statement and is being led by the Department for Transport.

It is examining ways to improve travel conditions on the route following the withdrawal of the Ellington to Fen Ditton scheme. At this time it is not known what the recommendations of the study will be and if they will affect the usage of the Viaduct.

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