The DfT has launched what it is calling ‘the A14 Challenge’, calling on the public for ideas on how to solve the problem of congestion on the A14, which is a key artery links the top of the M11 to the A1 and M1. The stretch between Ellington and Fen Ditton in Cambridgeshire is seen as particularly in need of attention.
We know all about the problems but we just don’t have a solution; that is essentially what the department is saying, and so tolls now have to be considered.
Transport minister Mike Penning said: "I urge anyone with an interest in tackling the congestion problems currently experienced on the A14 to submit their ideas for improvements to the A14 Challenge.
"This is far from being a study about what the problems are - they have been studied before and are well known. This is a great opportunity for local stakeholders to shape the solution.
"We do not believe that, on its own, a simple road building solution is likely to be the best option. That's why local knowledge and understanding in areas such as public transport, local roads, freight facilities and land use development is vital to enrich the final package."
Mr Penning said that one area where ideas will be welcome is in financing road schemes improvements. The government has no intention of charging road users for an unimproved facility, he said, but would expect to consider tolling for enhanced capacity.
On 29 November as part of the Growth Review, the National Infrastructure Plan announced measures to improve the A14 including an improved bypass for Kettering, £20m for immediate improvements including junction upgrades at the Girton and Spittals interchanges, additional signage for drivers and a study into longer term improvements between Ellington and Fen Ditton.
Views from the A14 Challenge will be received by DfT until the end of January. After that contributors of particular merit may be asked to work with the Department’s consultants in finalising and testing options. The study will report in summer 2012.