Cambridgeshire's £1.5bn A14 upgrade to start in late 2016

Artist's impression of A14 Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Almost 85,000 vehicles use the current A14 every day

Work will begin on a £1.5bn upgrade of the A14 in Cambridgeshire by the end of the year, the government has said.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has given the go-ahead for the construction work.

The 21-mile scheme will include a new bypass for Huntingdon, the widening of a section of the A1, and improvements to five junctions.

Highways England said work will start in late 2016 and motorists will be able to use the widened carriageway by 2020.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Most of the £1.5bn funds for the upgrade will come from the government

Chris Taylor, of Highways England, said: "The scheme will provide much-needed additional capacity to improve journey times and safety."

The junctions at Bar Hill, Swavesey, Girton, Histon and Milton will be improved, the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury will be widened and the A14 widened between Swavesey and Milton.

A14 in numbers

  • Almost 85,000 vehicles use this stretch of the A14 every day
  • About a quarter are heavy goods vehicles, well above the national average for this type of road
  • Plans to upgrade the road were first put on hold in 1998
  • A scheme to upgrade the road was approved in 2008 and cancelled in 2010

Source: Highways England

The government will invest up to £1.5bn in the scheme.

Up to £100m will be provided by local funding partners, including Greater Cambridgeshire/Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Highways England said its current estimated costs for the work are between £1.1bn to £1.6bn.

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