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News from the UK Civils Industry 27th March 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

£1.4 billion A1 project takes next step

The A1, Britain’s longest road, has been boosted with 7 miles of new lanes after an improved section of it opened to traffic this week.

In the next step of Highways England’s £1.5bn A14 upgrade, 3.5 miles of the A1 in Cambridgeshire has been widened from two to three lanes in each direction. The project is the UK’s biggest ever road upgrade and will benefit 31,000 drivers who use it every day.

As part of the larger project, Highways England is upgrading 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. The improvements include creating links between the A14 and the A1, with a redesigned junction and widening of the A1 either side of it.

These improvements will boost the local and national economy, as well as upgrade a key link between the east coast and the midlands. When completed the upgrades will also save up to 20 minutes for the 85,000 drivers who use it every day. 

Attention is now on whether the improved A14 and A1 will be re-designated as motorways. If given the go-ahead, the project could create a continuous motorway from London to Peterborough for the first time.

Highways England Executive Director for Major Projects and Capital Portfolio Management Peter Mumford said: “Today is a great step forward for people living, working and driving in and around Cambridgeshire as we open the first section of this ground-breaking road upgrade. The A14 sets the standard for how Highways England is delivering the first class infrastructure that the country needs to be successful, and it is great to see this new section of the A1 opening for traffic. It is just a taste of the huge benefits that the A14 upgrade will bring.”

David Bray, Highways England Project Director for the improvement scheme said: “This is a big step in delivering a new, improved A14, and drivers can see just how much work has been done over the last couple of years. The upgraded A1 will fit seamlessly together with the new A14 and improve journeys on both roads.”

The A1 is perhaps England’s most vital road and is just one of six phases of the overall A14 upgrade project.

A team of over 2,700 workers are currently involved in the Highways England project and as the scheme continues we can expect to see even more sub-projects launched over the next year when work is planned to be completed.

The A14 project is now more than half way through construction. Nine of the project’s 34 bridges and structures have already opened to traffic and the longest one, the half-mile long River Great Ouse Viaduct, was completed in February. The A14 project is due to be completed and fully opened by December 2020. Full story.

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Environment Agency flood defence projects continue

Work has begun on the new Environment Agency flood defences to protect South Ferriby in North Lincolnshire.

The new defences aim to prevent a repeat of the 2013 flooding which affected over 129 homes. The project was approved by North Lincolnshire Council's planning committee earlier this month and will see a new impermeable flood embankment west of the CEMEX plant on Sluice Road, as well as improvements to the north of the A1077 where the embankment will be raised.

The work at South Ferriby is part of an ongoing project worth £12m which we reported on earlier this month. It plans to improve flood defences on the River Trent bank which began last summer.

North Lincolnshire Council has contributed £600,000 towards the scheme and council leader Rob Waltham has welcomed work starting on the defences, saying: “We have been working with the Environment Agency to find a suitable, long term flood defence solution for the South Ferriby community for a number of years. I'm proud to say that now the scheme has planning permission, we have moved a step closer to providing peace of mind for the residents and businesses.”

Mike Dugher, deputy director at the Environment Agency, said: “After many years of hard work with our partners, we're pleased to mark the start of construction on a flood defence that will help protect around 150 homes plus local industry, agriculture, infrastructure and economy.”

Work on the flood defences is expected to be completed by 2021. Full story.

Highways England to improve M65

Highways England has announced a £300,000 study to look at major improvements to road links between the M65 in East Lancashire and parts of Yorkshire.

The study is planned for April and will consider what enhancements could be made to road connections between the M65 and communities in North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are investing more than £13billion to improve transport across the North so people can get around more easily, quickly and safely. This study is part of our ongoing work to ensure the routes between Lancashire and Yorkshire are fit for the future – helping link communities better and boosting the economy to supercharge the Northern Powerhouse.”

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’ Sullivan said: “This study will look at the issues currently facing road users in the trans-Pennine corridor, the extent to which the lack of strategic connection hinders growth, and options for improving those journeys and boosting economic growth. It will also look at how improvements could be used to support other trans-Pennine routes such as the M62.

The strategic assessment will be followed by analysis of potential options and Highways England will publish its findings by the end of the autumn. Full story.

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