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Huge new £1bn dual carriageway will link up two of UK’s most famous cities | UK | News UK News

The Government is pumping £1billion of investment in a new road in a bid to help grow the economy across central and eastern England.

Upgrades to the iconic Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet route on the A428 will also, it is hoped, reduce congestion and improve journey times by creating a new 10-mile dual carriageway. The road is notorious for its lengthy delays, especially in rush hour, though road users are forced to use it for lack of alternatives.

National Highway estimates the new scheme will cut journey times by more than a third at peak times and save drivers up to 10 minutes. The number of vehicles using the road each day is expected to rise from around 25,300 to 32,900 by 2040 because of new housing in the area and the creation of more jobs.

Several existing junctions will also be improved, while access to the town of St Neots and its railway station will be enhanced in what will be the UK’s most expensive road upgrade.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “I’m delighted we have marked the start of works on the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet project, a huge investment by the government to grow the economy in the region and reduce congestion for drivers.

“This government is backing drivers by investing in much-needed road projects like this, using savings from HS2 to resurface roads across the country, and introducing a long-term Plan for Drivers to slam the brakes on anti-car measures.”

Construction was supposed to begin in late 2022 but delays saw the work stalled until December 12, 2023.

It came after transport campaign group Transport Action Network challenged Mr Harper’s plans over concerns about how the climate and nature were being considered.

While the Court of Appeal refused the application last May, some devolved nations like Wales scrapped all major road-building projects over environmental concerns in February.

Mr Browne said it was crucial for schemes to continue as long as they employed construction methods that were “as carbon neutral as possible”, like using equipment powered by electricity rather than diesel.

“There’s a broader question about cars. Yes, we’re still going to carry on driving in this country. We are moving to net zero cars,” he said.

This year, at least 22 percent of new cars sold by car manufacturers in the UK must have no tailpipe emissions under the government’s zero-emission vehicles mandate. These vehicles are essentially purely electric.

This threshold will rise each year until it reaches 100 percent by 2035.

Nicola Bell, executive director for National Highways, described the start of the construction works to the Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet route as a “momentous occasion”.

She said: “As we break ground today, we embark on a journey that will transform transport in this region, easing congestion, improving connectivity and fostering economic growth.  

“This project highlights National Highways’ commitment to delivering major projects that make lasting impacts for people, communities and businesses. The start of construction represents a culmination of meticulous planning, collaborative efforts and a steadfast commitment to enhancing the nation’s infrastructure. 

“We are proud to be part of a project that will lay the foundations for a more resilient and connected future.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-16 15:12:00

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