'Whole new approach' as Highways England consults again on £1.4bn Black Cat

11/06/2020
Chris Ames

A further consultation into the delayed A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvement scheme will begin later this month.

Highways England said it will outline the design refinements that include changes to the constructions methods and environmental impacts of the project, following responses during the last consultation held in summer 2019, as well as new technical information.

The government-owned company said it will be taking ‘a whole new approach’ to the consultation, ‘designed to let people find out about the plans and put their questions to the project team, while respecting the current COVID-19 guidelines’.

The proposed Black Cat roundabout

The scheme was due to come under the first (2015-2020) Road Investment Strategy (RIS). However, the Government said last summer that it would be funded from RIS 2. Highways England told Highways that it remains priced at up to £1.4bn.

The proposed scheme will see a new 10-mile dual carriageway built linking the Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire to the Caxton Gibbet junction in Cambridgeshire. Both roundabouts would also be upgraded into free-flowing junctions and a new junction would be added at Cambridge Road near St Neots.

The project would replace the only remaining section of single carriageway between Milton Keynes and Cambridge and tackle one of the region’s most notorious congestion hotspots.

Lee Galloway, Highways England A428 programme lead, said: ‘We have been really encouraged by people’s feedback on the project so far, and this latest round of consultation reflects feedback from our consultation in 2019 and the ongoing engagement with the local community, organisations and road users.

‘This project will help to transform one of the East of England’s busiest sections of road, playing a vital role in creating quicker, safer and more reliable journeys which will bring communities together, create new job opportunities and support long term sustainable growth.’

Roads minister Baroness Vere said: ‘Our roads play a critical role in keeping Britain moving and this project will help to change people’s everyday journeys across the East of England, improving vital links and helping to reduce congestion.’

The five-week consultation will run from Wednesday 24 June 2020 to Tuesday 28 July 2020.

Consultation methods will include:

  • a virtual consultation room where people can log on from home via laptop or mobile device to hear about the changes from Highways England’s technical team, and explore maps and more details about the proposals
  • live webchats with the Highways England technical team who can answer any questions that people have about the scheme
  • telephone information events where people can dial in to hear more details about the consultation

Anyone who would prefer printed copies of the consultation booklet can pre-register their interest now. Email info@a428.co.uk or call 0300 123 5000.

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