Suffolk: Toll road puts dampeners on A14 upgrade announcement

A14, huntingdon

A14, huntingdon - Credit: Archant

A positive reaction in Suffolk to proposals for a £1.5billion upgrade for part of the A14 has been tempered by plans to create a toll road on a section of the vital dual carriageway.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s head of highways, welcomed the announcement of the investment in the road, a key transport link in and out of the county, but said the tolling, on a stretch between Cambridge and Huntingdon, would “unequivocally prejudice” the Suffolk’s businesses, enterprises, ports and tourism trade.

He said: “Even if it was a reasonably modest toll of £2 for lorries and £1 for cars, we think that would be £150million paid by the Suffolk economy over the next 25 years.

“The upside is we have the much greater likelihood of not being held up by a traffic jam on the A14.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the investment and the fact it was being brought forward by two years to 2016.

“However, we need to know how this will be funded as we have immense reservations about tolling of through traffic, if indeed tolling is part of the investment solution,” he said.

“If Suffolk businesses face a toll charge every time they pass through Cambridgeshire it will be, in effect, a tax upon Suffolk’s business base and a tax upon a broader, widespread business community throughout the UK.

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“Furthermore, it is a tax upon Suffolk that undermines our firms’ competitiveness in comparison to rivals elsewhere in the UK who remain unfettered by a toll upon major routes.”