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New route will provide direct ride into city from outlying villages

A planned upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon will include a 3m wide bike path, providing a route for residents of outlying villages to get into Cambridge by bike.

The £1.5 billion scheme is intended to relieve congestion on a section of dual carriageway of which the Highways Agency says: “Almost 85,000 vehicles use this stretch of the A14 every day; significantly more than the level originally designed for. Around quarter of this is heavy goods vehicles - well above the national average for this type of road.” As a result, the road becomes extremely congested at peak times.

As well as frustrating drivers, the existing A14 dual carriageway is not a road any cyclist in their right mind would choose to use. Campaigners have been pointing out for years that it effectively makes unusable the direct route into Cambridge from villages to the north-west, even though the flat terrain makes the journey easily rideable.

According to Cambridge News’ Chris Havergal, the project to upgrade the A14 will now include a cycle route from Swavesey to Cambridge. The new cycleway is expected to be at least 3m wide and to connect with existing cycle routes on Huntingdon Road.

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme proposals include a non-motorised road user (NMU) route as part of the proposed improvements.

“It is envisaged that it will be of a similar standard to that associated with the guided busway.

“The project team is actively discussing the scheme footprint design with NMU groups and the proposed improvement scheme is currently going through a public consultation. We welcome comments from the local community on the design aspects of the scheme and would include all these comments as feedback to the current consultative exercise.”

Cambridge cyclists will however be hoping that the new route is not too similar to the guided busway bike path. The busway linking Cambridge with St Ives includes a wide, well-surfaced path that tends to be flooded and impassable in winter.

Work will start on the A14 upgrade in 2016 and is planned to be complete in 2020.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

8 comments

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outcastjack [9 posts] 1 year ago
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Awesome! Long overdue, and just a shame we will have to wait for another 6+ years

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Hamster [94 posts] 1 year ago
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Awesome if they include a cleaning/clearing budget for it that is meaningful. More than once per year Cambs Highways else it will be a white elephant in 6 months covered in bottles of lorry drivers pee, rubbish and broken glass.

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northstar [1108 posts] 1 year ago
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If it isn't a shared path I will be surprised (if it happens at all).

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a_to_the_j [117 posts] 1 year ago
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awesome! now do this on the Scottish A9 dualling and A96 dualling instead of the "we will ensure adequate provision for cyclists at appropriate junction areas" and then follow up with a "insufficient funds" excuse when the details plans come out showing no provision (apart from having to make us go around it with a 5k detour)

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Alan Tullett [1566 posts] 1 year ago
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There is already the bike path on the guided busway which can take you to town via Histon or Girton with hardly any danger, although you do have to cross sides a few times for some strange reason. Condition of guided busway path is near perfect and it is easily accessible to all the villages in the area and gets a fair bit of use for commuting and riding/training. I use it a lot as it's a nice ride up to St Ives and some other places. Absolutely no point spending a fortune making a path near a noisy, polluted road when you can go down a quiet, pleasant path in the countryside.

There's a lot of money sloshing around Cambridge for cycle projects but the people in charge don't seem to have a clue how to use it.

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3cylinder [94 posts] 1 year ago
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The cost of adding the cycleway is going to be a negligible part of a £1.5 billion project, and presumably this shouldn't reduce any other cycling budget, so I don't think cost comes into it. Plus "It will run alongside the single carriageway local access road" so it isn't some blue paint next to the juggernauts. If this sets a trend for similar additions to other road builds/improvements it must be a good thing?

I agree that the villages to the north of the A14 are already well served by the existing busway but I could see this opening up places like Bar Hill that are completely cut off (cycling-wise)

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northstar [1108 posts] 1 year ago
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Well, this is living proof some people will believe anything you tell them.

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Alan Tullett [1566 posts] 1 year ago
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3cylinder wrote:

The cost of adding the cycleway is going to be a negligible part of a £1.5 billion project, and presumably this shouldn't reduce any other cycling budget, so I don't think cost comes into it. Plus "It will run alongside the single carriageway local access road" so it isn't some blue paint next to the juggernauts. If this sets a trend for similar additions to other road builds/improvements it must be a good thing?

I agree that the villages to the north of the A14 are already well served by the existing busway but I could see this opening up places like Bar Hill that are completely cut off (cycling-wise)

Ah, interesting that you mention Bar Hill as I go there by bike to see my daughter play football. You can get there through a path from Dry Drayton and then by Madingley and the path down Madingley Road or you can go across the roundabout and then down through Longstanton, Oakington, Girton, which is rather a detour. A path that side of the A14 might get a bit of use but it would be pretty unpleasant to use given the pollution levels near that road and upgrading the way out of Bar Hill to Dry Drayton, which isn't very good, would be better in the short term at least. But in the article it mentions Swavesey, which is very near the guided busway.

Bar Hill is undoubtedly a car ghetto and does need some better cycle routes out of it, especially to the Histon Road/Milton Road side of Cambridge where a lot of people work, Science Park etc. But to be honest if you work in that area and want to cycle to work you wouldn't live in Bar Hill. Access to the city centre is far more direct by the Dry Drayton route and just needs a bit of tarmac to improve it.