Combined Authority wins £2m for A10 dualling study
Bringing a safer, greener A10 a little closer, the Combined Authority’s transport and infrastructure committee today heard that central Government has agreed to fund a study into potentially dualling Cambridgeshire sections of the crucial but over-burdened road.
The committee noted the Department for Transport’s decision to fund the Outline Business Case for A10 dualling and junctions – and members agreed the proposed programme to produce the OBC, noting procurement for the project had been delegated to them by the Board in September 2020.
Having received the Combined Authority’s Strategic Outline Business Case last autumn, the Department for Transport is now awarding the Combined Authority £2 million to help develop the next-stage case – the more detailed OBC – for both junction and dualling options.
The money comes on condition that a fully worked-up lower-cost ‘non-dualling’ option based on improvements to junctions alone is presented in the case.
The Department for Transport money tops up the £2 million already given by the Combined Authority to explore improvements in the A10 – which connects the fenland area and east Cambridgeshire to the city of Cambridge and beyond – enabling people to locate more rurally, in market towns and villages, while retaining access to well-paid employment in Cambridge.
The current A10 links Ely and Cambridge from north to south, a route key to creating sustainable growth in homes and jobs, and to meeting the Devolution Deal commitment of doubling GVA over 25 years.
Because it connects the north of the region with Cambridge, the A10 plays a central role in the Combined Authority’s ambition to promote green and inclusive growth, spreading prosperity further around the whole Cambridgeshire population.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson:
“Anyone who has sat in jams on the A10 knows just how bad it can be. There have been far too many accidents on this road and anything that makes transport safer for the people of our community is highly desirable.
“We want all travel networks to be safer and greener, and to put more people in touch with better opportunity. The A10 is a crucial artery especially for people to the north of the region and improving this road will improve life and prospects for communities in Fenland and South and East Cambridgeshire.
“Traffic jams, pollution and slower-than-necessary commutes are bad for public health, bad for public transport, and unfair for people trying to walk or cycle safely. They certainly hold back our ambition to develop suitable and sustainable business within Cambridgeshire for the good of our whole region.”
“It’s very positive news that the Combined Authority team has persuaded the Government of the need to improve the A10 corridor for residents and road users alike. It’s good to look at options beyond just dualling – after all, the A10 should link communities, not sever them, so options that make connections rather than barriers will be welcome.”
As part of developing the SOBC, completed in September 2020, the Combined Authority conducted a community engagement exercise, asking road users and residents what they wanted for the A10. It showed powerful public support for improvements to the route, reinforcing the SOBC’s conclusion that people need action on this now.
The options evaluated in the SOBC include both offline – off the existing road course – and online – along the existing route – dualling options, and a package of junction improvements.
“Listening is the key to getting this right. That’s how we will develop priorities around safety and around making it easier for people to travel by cycling and walking. Priorities must include carbon-crushing and getting the right public transport in place, along with improving journey times for those still dependent on private cars for longer journeys,” said Mayor Dr Johnson.
Refining the Outline Business Case will in due course enable the Combined Authority team to come up with proposals for people to consider in the formal public consultation demanded by law.
There will also be an opportunity to seek an additional £2m from the DfT as these options emerge, depending on solutions proposed, for potential further technical development on which future funding decisions can be based.