Government pulls plug on �1.1billion A14 scheme

A KEY improvement scheme on one of the key routes into Suffolk has been shelved as part of Government spending cutbacks.

Draft orders for the Highways Agency’s �1.1billion programme for the A14 between Ellington, near Huntingdon, and Fen Ditton, near Cambridge, were only published late last year.

But yesterday the Department for Transport revealed the planned investment on the A14 - a key artery into Suffolk - had been “postponed” indefinitely.

The project, which would have seen a boost in safety and a cut in journey times for A14 motorists in the area, was just one of a raft of Government schemes to bite the bullet yesterday.

Responding to the news, Roy Pegram, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure and strategic planning at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We can fully understand the tremendous strain national finances are under and the need to look carefully at where money is spent.

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“But frankly this is one project that the Government and the country can’t afford to put on hold. Anybody who lives in Cambridgeshire knows the cost in lives this road has seen. “But the A14 is also a vital link locally, nationally and internationally for trade.

“Delaying its improvement will only weaken Cambridgeshire and the country’s economy at a time when this County can help the UK stay out of recession and indeed grow business.

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“Whilst any delay in the inquiry is disappointing we will continue to work with Government and our partners to achieve the much needed improvements for the A14.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said the A14 scheme had been postponed but was unable to state until when.

It is thought the project will be reviewed as part of the next spending review expected to begin in Autumn.

In October last year, those behind the scheme told how the �1.1billion scheme would generate benefits from Felixstowe to the Midlands.

Tim Hughes, senior project manager for the Highways Agency, said: “The A14 is a heavily used trunk road of national and regional importance providing a mahjor link between the Port of Felixstowe and the Midlands.”

Under the plans, the A14 would have been upgraded with three lanes in each direction along most of the stretch between Ellington to Fen Ditton.

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