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New A14 upgrade bridge completed over Great River Ouse

Work on the largest bridge on the upgraded A14 has been completed, Highways England said.

The River Great Ouse viaduct stretches for half a mile, and it will take traffic over the river and the East Coast Mainline Railway.

It is part of a new 17-mile bypass that is being built to the south of Huntingdon away from the existing A14.

The road is expected to reduce journey times by up to 20 minutes between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Willie McCormick, of Highways England, said the bridge has taken over 18 months to build, and covers 747 metres.

“Yet when it opens to traffic in 2020, drivers will cross it in less than 30 seconds,” he added.

The old bridge was dismantled by six excavators, with the material recycled and reused in the construction of the new road.

A total of 34 new bridges and structures are being built for the 21-mile improvement to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon for the 85,000 vehicles a day who drive it.

Main construction on the project started in November 2016.


£15m budget boost to help repair Shropshire roads

A number of significant roadwork schemes are also being carried out under the plans, including town-centre resurfacing in Whitchurch and Market Drayton.

Shropshire Council will vote on its budget on Thursday.

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport said that part of the funding was coming through £7 million provided by the Department for Transport.

He said the council is committed to spending on the county’s roads.

Councillor Davenport said a full programme of work across the county is planned but highlighted notable schemes including resurfacing and improving the road layout on the B4555 at Chelmarsh, Bridgnorth, resurfacing the town centre at Great Hales – Market Drayton, at Alkington Road, Whitchurch, and at Whattling Street South, Church Stretton.

Councillor Davenport said: “Shropshire Council highways will be investing, and continue to invest in, Shropshire roads.

“There is a budget identified for expenditure for highways improvements (roads, bridges, structures, streetlighting, drainage) of countywide schemes.

“Additionally, Shropshire Council received £7,313,000 form the Department for Transport, and 56 schemes are being delivered, some are already completed, the majority of schemes are being delivered at present and this programme of works will be completed by May 2019.

“This will deliver expenditure of £15m into Shropshire Council’s highways network in the new financial year.”

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

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Highways England funding brings more cycling and heritage benefits

Highways England is continuing its drive to improve the lives of communities across the country by today announcing a multi-million pound boost for cycling, heritage and wildlife projects along the A30 in Cornwall.

The company, responsible for managing and maintaining England’s major A roads and motorways, is pumping £27 million into the county for a wide range of initiatives including a variety of new cycle paths, habitat and heritage projects.

The funding will help walkers and cyclists travel safely by creating a network linking Truro with St Agnes, Perranporth and Newquay. It will also help restore internationally rare heathland habitat and Bronze Age barrows, reduce flooding and water quality issues, and restore the Grade II registered Chyverton Park.

Vinita Hill, Highways England Designated Funds Director, said: “Highways England is delighted to be partnering with Cornwall Council to realise a number of environmental and cycling projects. Our designated funds programme was developed so that we can invest in projects beyond our traditional road build and maintenance, and this is a glowing example of how this funding can have a positive impact on people and communities.”

A total of £17 million is being invested from Highways England’s Cycling, Safety and Integration Designated Fund, alongside a further £2 million from Cornwall Council towards a comprehensive, high-quality off-road walking and cycling.

Spanning more than 30 kilometres, and starting later this year, the work will significantly improve the cycle network, increasing cycling as a method of travel to work, attract leisure and tourism trips, and contribute to healthy active lifestyles, while opening access to the countryside to be enjoyed by resident and tourist cyclists alike. The routes include:

·         St Agnes to Truro

·         Trispen to Idless

·         St Newlyn East to Carland Cross

·         Perranporth to Newquay

Cornwall Council will lead the delivery of these schemes, and over the coming months will conduct surveys and collect information to develop the designs. Early engagement with landowners will be followed by public and stakeholder consultation later in the year, with the schemes due to be delivered by spring 2021.

An artist's impression of the central Cornwall landscape following completion of the Designated Funds schemes

An artist’s impression of the central Cornwall landscape following completion of the Designated Funds schemes

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio holder for Transport said: ‘This major funding from Highways England provides us with a wonderful opportunity to provide some great opportunities for cycling.

“The routes will complement other cycle routes and trails across Cornwall. The cycle network will reach out to towns and villages and link with where residents live and work, connecting our communities and joining up access to the services that people want and need.

“Cycling also helps address congestion and air quality issues and plays a key role in promoting a healthy life for our residents, and we look forward to working with our partners at Highways England and with the local communities, on delivering these exciting schemes.”

A total of £10 million of Environment Designated Funds will help improve and conserve the quantity, quality and condition of valued landscape features within mid-Cornwall.

Including historic assets within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage site, the funding will help Cornwall Council and partners to build on their work around environmental growth and climate resilience, and the numerous schemes will include:

  • creating nature-friendly “Green Ribs” to provide improved habitat and safe corridors for wildlife in landscapes either side of the strategic road network
  • enhancing and restoring the internationally rare heathland habitat at Newlyn Downs,
  • working with nature to reduce flooding and water quality issues downstream of local watercourses
  • rescuing the Grade II listed Wheal Busy Smithy building near Chacewater
  • understanding and enhancing the area’s Bronze Age barrows and the prehistoric “landscape of ancestors” they represent
  • restoring the Grade II registered Chyverton Park.

Sue James, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for environment and public protection added: “This funding from Highways England offers an opportunity for partners to work with local communities to restore and enhance the environment, together with historic and cultural assets in mid-Cornwall.

“It will support our climate emergency plans, helping residents to reduce their dependency on car travel while supporting communities in adapting to the impacts of climate change by improving waterways and flood resilience. The schemes build on the work of local partners in Cornwall, offering benefits to residents, wildlife and visitors now and into future decades.”

Partners involved in the projects are Cornwall Council, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England, Cornwall Catchment Partnership, and Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

The Government allocated £675 million of funds to Highways England over a five-year spending period covering 2015 to 2020.

The series of ring-fenced funds are designated to address a range of issues including Environment, Cycling, Safety and Integration, Air Quality and Innovation.

The cycling projects in Cornwall have been developed as part of Highways England’s cycling designated fund, and the company is working to achieve a target to deliver 150 cycling schemes by the end of the Road Investment Period (2015-2020). The Cornwall projects are due to complete in 2021.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

Route unveiled for major new road and junction at Black Cat

Tens of thousands of drivers using three of the East of England’s busiest roads are set to benefit from a major upgrade that will create a new 10-mile dual carriageway and transform one of the region’s most congested roads and junctions, Highways England revealed.

In a project that will improve a key east-west road link, journeys on the A1, the A421 and the A428 will be improved by a new three tier junction at the Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire, which will allow drivers to pass through the junction uninterrupted, while keeping the roundabout clear for drivers making turns between the roads.

And a brand new, 10 mile dual carriageway will link directly between the upgraded Black Cat junction and the Caxton Gibbet roundabout near Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, with a new junction at Cambridge road and new bridges. The existing A428 will become a local road serving communities between St Neots and Caxton Gibbet.

Options for the new road scheme were put to the public in 2017, and the route being announced today combines the best mix of benefits and were also the most popular options at consultation. The chosen options announced today were referred to at the consultation as the Orange Route and Option C respectively.

The route of the new dual carriageway

The route of the new dual carriageway

Highways England project lead Lee Galloway said:

“This major new dual carriageway between St Neots and Cambridge and upgrade for the Black Cat junction will mean quicker and safer journeys for people and will also boost the economy and unlock housing. As well as significant improvements locally, the project will be a vital component in improving the regional and national road network. The improvements will complement our £1.5bn A14 upgrade and form part of a wider transformation of road links between Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

“Well over 4,000 people took part in our consultation last year, with more than 2,000 people attending one of our public events, and it is great to see that our proposals have such strong backing. I would like to thank everyone who took part for their contribution in helping to shape this vital upgrade for the area’s road network. With the options now chosen, we can push ahead with a more detailed design, which we will put to people for their input again later this year.”

The layout of the transformed Black Cat junction

The layout of the transformed Black Cat junction

Currently, the A428 between the A1 at Black Cat and the A1198 at Caxton Gibbet is a single carriageway with a series of roundabouts and give-way junctions. It experiences severe congestion and delays during peak periods or if there is an incident in the wider South Cambridgeshire area. The improvements will cut the average peak time journeys between the Black Cat and Caxton Gibbet junctions by more than a third – around a 10 minute saving on every trip.

The improvements will tackle these delays by creating a new dual carriageway, with junctions served by slip roads, and bridges to carry local roads over it. The new dual carriageway will lead directly to the Black Cat junction which is itself being upgraded to allow smoother, safer access between the A1, the A421 and the A428. The A428 currently joins the A1 at Wyboston 1.5 miles to the north.

Retaining the existing A428 for local traffic will offer significant benefits for communities along the route, while four new routes for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians will maintain and improve access across the new road.

Three options for the new road were put to the public in 2017, along with three options for the junction upgrade. The chosen options announced today were referred to at the consultation as the Orange Route and Option C respectively. 89 per cent of respondents agreed with the need for the upgrade, with a clear majority of respondents backing the options chosen today (83 per cent for the Orange route and 60 per cent for Option C).

The scheme is valued between £810m and £1.4bn, and is being funded by the Government’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy, the biggest investment in road infrastructure since the 1970s.

Today’s announcement paves the way for a further, more detailed consultation later in 2019, and a planning application, expected in 2020. Subject to statutory processes, main construction work on the upgrade could start before April 2022.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

Big changes to motorway upgrades set to improve drivers’ journeys

Highways England is changing the way it manages major motorway upgrades in the North West to help reduce the impact of roadworks on drivers.

Following feedback from road users, the government company is changing the timing of some of its roadworks.

It means that work on projects to add extra lanes and better technology to the M56 near Manchester Airport and the M6 between Warrington and Wigan, which had been due to start this spring, will now start after current major motorway upgrades have been completed.

Highways England has also set out plans to improve how smart motorway projects are carried out on the North West’s motorways in the future.

They include changes to the layout of roadworks to reduce the need for overnight diversions and finish schemes sooner. Temporary speed limits will also be increased to 60mph when it is safe for drivers and road workers, and three lanes will be maintained in each direction during the day throughout upgrades.

Mike Bull, Highways England’s smart motorways programme manager for the North West, said:

“Hundreds of thousands of people across the North West will benefit from a huge investment on the road network over the next few years and we’re keen to help keep drivers moving while the upgrades take place.

“We’ve listened to what people have been telling us about roadworks and have decided to reschedule two major schemes, benefitting drivers who use our roads to get to work and businesses who deliver goods across the region. We’re committed to the upgrades; we are simply changing the timetable for projects on the M56 and M6.

“We’re also reviewing how we carry out major upgrades so that we can minimise disruption as much as possible and maintain connections for drivers using the road network.”

Highways England is committed to carrying out the biggest upgrade of the North West’s motorways in a generation and has already completed major schemes on the M62 and M60, as well as opening a new link road between the M56 and M6, since 2015.

The company has also completed almost half of a smart motorway upgrade on the M6 in Cheshire, opening a fourth lane on both carriageways between Holmes Chapel and Knutsford last month.

The temporary speed limit was increased to 60mph before Christmas while testing took place on new technology, and variable speed limits have now been introduced up to 70mph to improve the flow of traffic. The entire 19-mile upgrade between Crewe and Knutsford is on schedule to be finished by the end of March.

Work on a major upgrade of the M62 near Warrington is also due to be completed by spring 2020, increasing capacity by a third. The scheme will benefit commuters who had previously faced average speeds as low as 36mph on their way home from work.

A project to upgrade a four-mile-stretch of the M56 near Manchester Airport will now start by spring 2020 after the M62 scheme has been completed, and work will begin as planned this autumn to upgrade another stretch of the M62 between Rochdale and Brighouse in West Yorkshire.

Other major motorway projects, including a scheme on the M6 between Warrington and Wigan, will be staggered to start between 2020 and 2025.

Contraflow roadworks layouts, where one lane is moved onto the opposite carriageway with a temporary barrier between traffic, will also be introduced where possible to cut the duration of schemes.

The change to the road layout will allow bigger construction areas to be created at the side of motorways so that more work can be carried out in one shift. Traffic will also be able to continue to travel in both directions on the motorway when one carriageway is closed for major construction work overnight, reducing the need for diversions.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

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