Today Members of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and representative Ward Members on the A141 and St Ives Steering Group were presented with the findings of the emerging results of work completed by Cambridgeshire County Council who have been working on options for the A141 including the controversial proposal for a Huntingdon Third River Crossing.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer intervened back in January to ask that the Third River Crossing be considered as part of a wider strategic picture for the Huntingdon area ‐ a decision approved by the January Combined Authority Board. It merged the work with the assessment for the A141 and St Ives study, a decision that allowed for one approach for the area instead of multiple studies.
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said:
“A critical part of the assessment work has now been completed and shows that building a Third River Crossing at Huntingdon is no longer appropriate. The cost and growth scenarios no longer add up, but importantly we would also fall foul of our commitment to enhancing and protecting our natural environment. Given the recent major infrastructure works it was vital that we considered a wider picture for the Huntingdon area. This joined up thinking has shown that the Third River Crossing is not a good idea, and that other measures will deliver better results.
“We can now move forward with our work on improving the A141 and deliver a strategic study for St Ives that could deliver real benefits. Plans for making progress with those will be brought to the Combined Authority later in the year.”
The Members were told that the overarching foundations of the assessment of all the options was based on the feasibility, deliverability, and affordability of the options by looking at the strategic transport movements , junction performance, and an environmental desktop study.
A paper, based on the recommendations of the Options Assessment Report, presented today, will go to Huntingdonshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Combined Authority committees for approval to progress the best performing A141 option through to the design and Business Case process and commence a Strategic St Ives study later in the year.
Cllr Ryan Fuller, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said:
“Huntingdonshire District Council has been very clear in its position that we need improved infrastructure in place to tackle the existing congestion issues, and before further growth could be considered. The Third River Crossing and Huntingdon A141 capacity enhancement feasibility work was designed to determine if such interventions could ease congestion and make it easier for residents to move around the district. I welcome that the studies show enhancements to the A141 will deliver better results, will be more affordable and deliverable than a river crossing and will have much less of an environmental impact.
The next phase of this work is to deliver a strategic transport study for St Ives and I shall be working with the Mayor to progress this through the Combined Authority to make sure that St Ives gets the infrastructure improvements it needs.”
The commitment to a Feasibility Study on the Huntingdon Third River Crossing was included in the Devolution Deal with government that established the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayoral Combined Authority.