Essex/Suffolk: Councils’ £1m contributions to Cambridgeshire A14 road scheme set for approval

Improvement works to the A14 in Cambridgeshire could have a knock-on effect for motorists further af

Improvement works to the A14 in Cambridgeshire could have a knock-on effect for motorists further afield travelling into Suffolk. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A £1million contribution is set to be made by Essex County Council (ECC) to a road in Cambridgeshire.

The authority is looking to make an annual payment of £40k for 25 years once upgrades to the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge are complete.

Senior county councillors will decide whether to go ahead with the recommended spending at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Government funding for the upgrade scheme, which includes additional lanes along the bottleneck stretch of road, was dependent on a local contribution totalling £100m towards the £1.345bn project. Original plans to raise funds through a toll along the new road were scrapped after strong opposition.

Work is due to be completed by 2019/20.

To raise the funds Cambridgeshire County Council set up a consortium of councils and local enterprise partnerships to appeal for contributions.

Suffolk County Council has also agreed a £1m contribution to the scheme.

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Both Essex and Suffolk authorities’ donations to the project will not be subject to inflation, and if the scheme costs less than expected each should see a pro-rata return of some of their money.

In a report ECC recommends backing the project as the A14 is a major link road for people and businesses in Essex to reach the Midlands and the North of England.

An estimated 17% of traffic using the Huntingdon-Cambridge stretch of the A14 originates or is destined for Essex, and improvements could unlock £550-£620k annually to the Essex economy, or £13.75-£15.5m over the 25 year payment period.

The report adds: “It is anticipated that this type of approach is likely to be needed for future schemes and ECC’s contribution is made with the expectation that other authorities will be prepared to make a commitment to similar schemes in Essex such as the A120 and M11. The council is not in a position to extract a binding commitment on this.”