Consultation starts for RIS 2's Black Cat scheme

06/06/2019
Chris Ames

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that the delayed £1.4bn A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme will now need to be funded from the second Road Investment Strategy (RIS 2).

Highways England has published more details of the project, which will replace the only remaining section of single carriageway between Milton Keynes and Cambridge to tackle ‘one of the region’s most notorious congestion hotspots’, as well as a three tier Black Cat roundabout.

A new 10-mile dual carriageway will link the two roundabouts, which will both be upgraded into ‘modern, free-flowing junctions’ while a new junction would be added at Cambridge Road near St Neots.

In February, Highways England announced its preferred choices. It has now published the details behind that announcement before final plans go forward for planning consent early next year.

Highways England A428 programme lead Lee Galloway said: ‘The current A428 carries twice the traffic it was designed for and cuts through small communities and villages. It can get painfully congested – in fact it is in the worst 20% of roads for delays in the whole country.

‘Our plans will make a real difference, improving people’s journeys, reducing rat running on local roads and better linking the two key economic hubs of Milton Keynes and Cambridge, with economic benefits being felt across the whole region.’

A press statement from transport secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘This is part of the government’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy to improve our motorways and major A roads helping get motorists to their destinations quickly, easily and safely.’

However, the DfT has confirmed that the delayed scheme will not now be funded from the first (2015-20) RIS, which has a £15bn capital budget from 2015-21, but that it 'expects' the cash to come from RIS 2, which has yet to be finalised.

The project team will be hosting eight consultation events at local venues across the area, and in addition a mobile visitor centre will visit popular locations and pop up events will be held in Milton Keynes and Bedford shopping centres.

Members of the public can respond to the consultation by visiting the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet webpage. The consultation runs eight weeks from today and closes at 11:59pm on Sunday 28 July.

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