The key next steps to dual the A10 between Ely and Cambridge will be presented to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board next week.
The Board will be recommended to carry out a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) study for the dualling scheme. The study has the backing of Mayor James Palmer who has described the project as essential to facilitating the anticipated growth of the corridor.
The dualling of the stretch of the A10 has been a long-held ambition in Cambridgeshire and the study, if approved, would be the most significant step forward yet in its delivery.
Included in the SOBC would be a look at potential routes for the dualling through a study known as an Options Appraisal Report. A number of routes would be identified to consider which would offer best value for money and meet the objectives of the project.
Improving the A10 corridor between Ely and Cambridge is one of the Combined Authority’s priority schemes. It is seen as having a crucial role to play in better connecting the economies of Fenland and Greater Cambridge.
The Combined Authority Board will hear a report and recommendations on the next steps when it meets on March 27.
Development in the A10 Cambridge to Ely corridor has been forecast to generate up to 17,000 new homes and 14,000 new jobs, with further development anticipated in the East Cambridgeshire part of the corridor, including Ely.
More than 18,000 vehicles use the corridor daily, with capacity issues resulting in significant delays which is restricting growth. The corridor carries the highest level of north-south traffic flows in the county, and journeys over the 16-mile route can take over 45 minutes. The growth and development planned along the corridor will only exacerbate the existing congestion issues, the report to the Board says.
A prior study into the A10 corridor between Cambridge and Ely has been carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership. The study took a broad view of how to increase capacity and reduce congestion. A package of measures were proposed including junction improvements, the relocation of Waterbeach rail station, and new and upgraded cycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
However, a SOBC study commissioned by the Combined Authority would specifically look at the dualling of the route.
With the emerging plans for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro, which would see a route extending to Waterbeach, the report also highlights the importance of ensuring the two projects are aligned.
The report to the Board also identifies a source of potential Government funding, called the Large Local Majors funding scheme, for road schemes above £50 million. The report outlines how best the Combined Authority can position itself to successfully apply for the funding. The Board will be recommended to approve applying for funding to meet the anticipated Summer 2019 application window. This application would run in parallel to the development of the Strategic Outline Business Case.
Early estimates of the cost of fully dualling the road range from £235-£500 million and £500,000 has been budgeted by the Combined Authority for carrying out the SOBC.
Mayor James Palmer said:
“Dualling the A10 between Cambridge and Ely has been on the local agenda for many years, but the Combined Authority has the opportunity to inject fresh impetus.
“The case is clear. If we want to allow for the significant growth that is forecast in this part of Cambridgeshire, we need to dual the A10 between Cambridge and Ely. This is also a crucial part of my, and the Combined Authority’s ambition to better link our economies - in this case Fenland and Greater Cambridge - and open up opportunities to more people.
“The production of this business case will be a key next step towards that goal and takes us further towards delivery than we have been before. It is also important that we put ourselves in a position to take advantage of the funding schemes that may be available from the Department for Transport.
“The A10 is a significant growth corridor, with Ely, Waterbeach, and the Cambridge Fringe North East site all predicted to see housing, jobs and economic growth, so I am confident this business case will put forward a very strong case for investment.”