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.