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Suffolk: Delays on A14 cost county’s businesses £140m a year, report reveals

PUBLISHED: 09:16 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:16 10 April 2014

Congestion on part of the A14 near Huntingdon.

Congestion on part of the A14 near Huntingdon.

Archant

Delays to traffic on the A14 cost Suffolk businesses nearly £140million a year, according to a new survey by accountants Ernst and Young.

Ending congestion on the road could generate more than £360m a year for the county’s economy, and lead to the creation of a further 7,100 jobs, the study says.

The figures, contained in a report on the impact of the A14 on Suffolk’s economy, have been released as public exhibitions start on proposals for a £1.5billion upgrade of the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon aimed at eliminating one of the most notorious bottlenecks in the nation’s road network.

The report says that time lost in delays costs Suffolk businesses £110.1m a year while a further £29.1m is lost by supply chain industries.

These figures produce a direct cost of £139.2m a year, but another £223m a year is lost in indirect and induced costs.

The report says: “As a trade and distribution hub and with a growing population, Suffolk depends on the quality and free-flow of physical transport infrastructure.”

The report was published in consultation with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce whose chief executive John Dugmore welcomed the findings.

He said: “This important piece of research reinforces one of the biggest challenges Suffolk’s economy is facing – the upgrading of the A14.

“To see in black and white that congestion on the A14 is costing businesses £139m a year shows that urgent attention is needed to address this fundamental part of the county’s infrastructure.

“Business was united in its successful campaign for No Toll Tax on Suffolk. That partnership is continuing in its call that planned improvements are delivered on time and in budget. This not only will support firms and not hinder them, but will see the creation of 7,100 new jobs in Suffolk.”

The consultation period on upgrading the A14 in Cambridgeshire is due to run until June. A preferred route should be published in August.

The Highways Agency hopes work on the new road can start in late 2016 and that the road should be open to traffic in 2019/20.

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