Call for new alliance to secure A14 investment

THE Haven Gateway Partnership has called for the creation of an “A14 Alliance” to campaign for improvements to the region’s main east-west road link which have been suspended as part of the Government’s spending cuts.

Haven Gateway chairman George Kieffer has written to Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond urging him to ensure that the planned improvements to the Cambridgeshire section of the A14, and investment in the cross-country Felixstowe-Nuneaton rail link, remain high on the Government infrastructure agenda. Mr Kieffer said: “The A14 corridor serves the fastest growing area of the UK, centres of excellence in research and development, maritime and bio-clusters together with large numbers of new homes.

“Build rates in these areas have continued throughout the recession. The economic drivers of this area are the investment to assist the UK’s economic recovery.

“As an all-purpose dual carriageway road, running from the M1/M6 to Felixstowe Docks, a distance of 210kilometres, the A14 is a road with international national and regional importance.”

The Ellington to Fen Ditton by-pass, replacing the out-dated Cambridge to Hundtingdon section of the A14, had been identified by the East of England’s chambers of commerce as their highest transport priority for the region.

The HPG argues that it represents high value for money, with the improvements calculated to deliver direct economic benefits of �924million through effects such as reduced congestion and accident savings, �312m of wider productivity benefits, and �321m of benefits due to increased reliability.

The Haven Gateway, which includes Ipswich, Colchester and Felixstowe, is a designated “growth point”, as are Bury St Edmunds and Cambridgeshire, with the three areas expected to deliver more than 100,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

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The Felixstowe South regeneration scheme, representing an investment of �400m and due for completion next year, will also increase the Port of Felixstowe’s capacity by around 1.7m containers a year, and futher developments at Felistowe and Harwich, already approved, could add capacity for a further 3m containers over the next 15 to 20 years.

The Haven Gateway Partnership says it is keen to develop a strong A14 Alliance, with return on investment and international trade at its heart, covering not just road but also rail.

The creation of a new link between the East Suffolk and Norwich rail lines in Ipswich, is intended to ease the flow of containers between Felixstowe and the West Midlands.