Dumped A14 upgrade cost £37m

Grant Prior 13 years ago

The Highways Agency spent nearly £37m on plans to upgrade the A14 before the road project was finally scrapped.

Around £30m was spent on detailed designs, publication of draft orders, and preparation for the public inquiry, which didn’t take place.

The plans were dumped in the coalition Government’s spending review but the wasted cash was only revealed after a Freedom of Information request by local newspaper, the Cambridge News.

A further £7.3m was swallowed up during consultations and deliberations prior to the award of the project contract to Costain and Skanska.

Businesses in the East Anglia have slammed the Government’s decision to dump the £1.3bn dualling scheme as an appalling waste of money.

John Bridge, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said the most cost-effective way forward was to stick to the original scheme.

He said: “It’s totally unacceptable in this day and age, when we have such a need for investment in roads, to spend such a large sum of money and have no tangible benefits to show for it.”

Local Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: ”It is appalling that the taxpayers of this country have been forced to pay almost £37m on the scheme.”

The upgrade, to widen the road to three lanes in each direction between Fen Drayton and Fen Ditton and create a new dual carriageway between Fen Drayton and the A1, was announced in April 2003.

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “We recognise the A14 corridor faces severe congestion, and that mobility along the route is critical for economic success and growth.

“The Department for Transport announced in October they would undertake a study to identify cost effective and practical proposals which bring benefits and relieve congestion on the A14, looking across modes to ensure we develop sustainable proposals.

“We expect the work done to date will be useful in informing this study.”

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