WATCH: Drone footage over A14 shows completion of £1.5bn improvements
PUBLISHED: 12:28 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 05 May 2020
A £1.5bn road upgrade aimed at strengthening links between the East of England and the Midlands has been completed eight months ahead of schedule.
The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon scheme is designed to transform travel on the main road through Cambridgeshire, shaving up to 20 minutes off journeys.
Access to and from the UK’s largest port, at Felixstowe, is also expected to vastly improve as part of Britain’s biggest road-building project.
The project was originally scheduled for completion by December 2020, but now the last of the 24/7 roadworks have been removed and the new lanes are available for use with the national speed limit restored.
Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive at Highways England, said: “This upgrade is a key addition to our national infrastructure, better linking the North and Midlands to the East of England and the Haven ports.
“It also brings economic benefits to the wider region and local towns and communities.
“Being able to open it more than six months early and on budget shows what the UK construction industry can achieve with common goals and targets, and a shared vision of success.
“I would like to thank everyone across Highways England and our supply chain for their contribution, as well as road users and residents for their patience and support.”
A stretch of the 21-mile scheme - a new 12.mile bypass south of Huntingdon - was opened a year early in December 2019 and has already been used to make 12 million journeys.
Essential work has continued throughout the Coronavirus crisis, with new sections of road opened as quickly as possible to ensure vital goods could be transported.
Measures were put in place to ensure work was completed safely and in line with Public Health England’s advice.
Roads minister Baroness Vere added: “Our roads are more important than ever as we work to keep Britain moving, and I’m delighted this key stretch of road will benefit drivers even sooner than planned.
“The upgrade will further bolster our efforts to move goods around the UK at this critical time.”
While work on the road itself has been completed, landscaping of verges and provision of cycle, horse riding and pedestrian paths will continue, meaning some overnight or off-peak lane closures will be required.
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