Major A14 upgrade to open six months early
- Credit: Archant
A £1.5billion upgrade to the A14 is to open half a year early - to the delight of motorists.
The stretch of the key route between Huntingdon and Cambridge, which is used by drivers across the whole region, has long been a bugbear of commuters because of ever-increasing volumes of traffic.
Work started in 2016 on a new 21-mile scheme, which includes a new 12-mile bypass south of Huntingdon and widening parts of the road to help cope with the volume of cars and lorries.
While necessary for the longer-term gain, the roadworks have added to drivers' woes.
However today Highways England, which has been managing the scheme, announced that the project will open to drivers more than half a year early.
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It follows the opening of the new bypass south of Huntingdon in December, a whole year early.
Yet while the spring opening date will mark the end of permanent roadworks and reduced speed limits on the new A14 and the A1307, but the project team will still need to carry out a number of completion activities such as landscaping, installing some of the new technology, and work in the verges.
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To carry out this work safely, some temporary overnight closures or off-peak daytime lane closures will be needed.
Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan said: "The A14 is a vital route used by 85,000 drivers every day and 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.
"Also, I would like to thank road users, residents and stakeholders for their patience and support during our work.
"This road is not just a piece of national infrastructure - it brings benefits to the region and local towns and communities too."
Roads minister Baroness Vere said: "I'm delighted that the A14 upgrade will open ahead of schedule, not only meaning drivers will benefit from quicker and safer journeys sooner, but also ensuring that key access between the region's ports and the West Midlands will be boosted."
The project has provided work for around 13,000 people in total, with up to 2,500 working on site during the project's peak.