Construction News

Sat September 25 2021

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Cones disappear from the A14

6 May 20 Britain’s biggest road-building project, the £1.5bn A14 upgrade, is opening for traffic eight months ahead of schedule.

The 750-metre-long River Great Ouse viaduct on the new A14
The 750-metre-long River Great Ouse viaduct on the new A14

The success of the project delivery has been attributed to Highways England’s adoption of teamworking, bringing what were originally separate construction teams into a single alliance.

Back in 2015, a joint venture of Balfour Beatty and Carillion was given a £292m contract to design and build the 10 mile stretch between Swavesey and Milton. Costain Skanska JV was given a £600m contract for Alconbury to Swavesey (11 miles, in two separate packages). At the time the opening date was put at 2020 (no month was specified).

After a rethink, Highways England established the A14 Integrated Delivery Team comprising the contractors and their consulting engineers Atkins and CH2M.

Since work started in November 2016, some 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon has been widened to three lanes in each direction (four lanes between Bar Hill and Girton).

Some finishing work is continuing, such as landscaping as well as foot and cycle paths along the new road. The old 1970s A14 viaduct in Huntingdon is still to be removed as well – this should be completed by 2022.

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A stretch of the 21-mile scheme – a new 12-mile bypass south of Huntingdon – was opened in December 2019, a whole year early.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “This upgrade is a key addition to our national infrastructure, better linking the North of England and the Midlands to the East of England and to 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 an integrated client team, 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 to this project as well as road users, residents and stakeholders for their patience and support during the work.”

 Besides the Huntingdon southern bypass, the project includes an upgrade to the A14 between Swavesey and Milton, and a new road for local communities, the A1307, which runs parallel to it between Cambridge and Godmanchester. Approximately 24 miles of new routes for cyclists, walkers and horse riders are also included in the scheme.

The A1307 east of Huntingdon and along the Alconbury spur, and part of the A141 west of Huntingdon, both of which use the path of the old A14, will be handed over to Cambridgeshire County Council once the project is completed.

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