A £350,000 boost towards the dualling of the A10 could help the scheme move one step closer next week, if the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board (CPCA) give the green light to release funding to move the scheme forwards.
Following a feasibility study into the A10 corridor between north Cambridge and Ely, which has identified six potential options for further development amongst its findings, the Board will be asked to approve the budget to fund the next steps.
If given the go-ahead, the money will be used to further develop the strategic outline business case and importantly, procure a consultant to deliver an Options Appraisal Report (OAR), which will provide a more detailed consideration and evaluation of specific routes.
The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, said: “There are number of interventions that can be made to alleviate traffic along the A10. Junction improvements and the relocation of the train station at Waterbeach will help. However, I've always been clear that these interventions only scratch at the surface, the road needs to be fully dualled.
"A large number of the people who use the A10 on a daily basis are not actually using it to go into and out of Cambridge. This is an important point to recognise.
"The GCP's A10 Corridor study, published last month, took far longer to put together than I would have liked. It's important that from now on we move at pace and approach with a degree of urgency.
"It's right that the Combined Authority begins the procurement process now for the Options Appraisal. The procurement process for the Options Appraisal must to be completed by the time that the further business study is concluded. There should be no more delay.
"Fortunately before I was elected as Mayor, a number of local councillors, in particular Anna Bailey and the other Ely councillors did a significant amount of work in putting this on the agenda, they should be commended for this."
Deputy Mayor and Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Charles Roberts added: “What's clear to me is that if we follow the usual orthodox approach to dualling the A10 its years off. We need to approach it differently and not allow ourselves to be overly constrained by the existing processes that have held back the delivery of transport infrastructure in our area for so many years.
"I find it extraordinary that the GCP's business case took so long to put together. No one will ever convince me it’s necessary to take over two years to tell us something we already know, that the A10 needs to be dualled.
"For the residents of East Cambridgeshire, dualling the A10 is an absolute priority. Those who oppose plans to dual the A10 should spend some time explaining to the people of the villages I represent why it's acceptable for them to spend so much of their life stuck in traffic on the A10. They deserve better than this and I'm determined that the Combined Authority delivers.
"I'm very pleased that the procurement for the Options Appraisal will begin as soon as possible. This is an important step."
Running alongside the OAR, there will be an initial public and stakeholder engagement exercise which will provide an opportunity to shape the proposals. It will also enable the project team to identify early issues and likely objections so that these can be incorporated early in the project, and support the future consents processes.
A period of pubic consultation will be based on the findings of the OAR and will aim to inform a decision on the preferred route.
The Combined Authority Board will be held from 10.30am on Wednesday 28th February at Pathfinder House, Huntingdonshire District Council.