National Highways has outlined plans for the area around Huntingdon railway station and the demolition of the viaduct as the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme enters its final stage.
The plans will transform Huntingdon station into a transport hub for the town, featuring a new car park for train users, better access for buses, improved footpaths and enhancements to the environment including significant tree planting.
The designs were drawn up following extensive discussions between National Highways, Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway, with the aim of breathing new life into this part of Huntingdon for road, rail users, visitors to the town and town centre.
The improvements to the station will follow the dismantling and demolition of the final sections of the old A14 viaduct which ran over the East Coast mainline railway. The 12,000-tonne structure has been out of use since a new bypass on the A14 linking Cambridge and Huntingdon opened in December 2019.
Improved footpaths and cycle racks will also encourage commuters to arrive on foot or on bikes.
Laura Hampshire, National Highways Project Manager, said: “Once the final sections of the viaduct have been removed, we can begin work on the improvements to the railway station car park and surrounding areas. Thousands of people use the station every day and we’re excited to be able to breathe new life into this part of Huntingdon for road, rail users, visitors to the town and town centre.
“From the beginning of the project National Highways was committed to delivering upgrades to people living, working and travelling and around Huntingdon. We’re enormously grateful for the patience everyone has shown to this point, and we hope they’ll all soon the benefits of these local improvements.”
Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast route, said: “These plans will improve passenger experience at Huntingdon station through improved car parking, better access for buses and giving a new lease of life to the area. We continue to work closely with both National Highways and Govia Thameslink Railway as this exciting work progresses.”
As well as the construction of a brand-new ground level car park on the east side of the station, National Highways will also add an extra level to the car park on the west side to replace all the parking spaces lost to the new road configuration.
The improvements to the railway station car park will follow on from the opening of a new link road connecting the A1307 at Views Common with Hinchingbrooke Park Road last month. The stretch of road, which is just under a mile long, runs alongside the Police and Fire Headquarters, and will help reduce congestion in Huntingdon town centre and on the ring road by providing better access to major roads such as the A141, A1 and A14.
National Highways has already finished the majority of work on its £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14 in Cambridgeshire, with 85,000 daily drivers benefitting with up to 20 minutes taken off their journeys following the opening of a new 12-mile bypass in December 2019, and the rest of the 21-mile stretch being upgraded to three lanes last May.
The improved 21-mile section is a vital link in the A14 which connects the East coast and the Midlands. The new road, which has been National Highways flagship project and the biggest investment in a roads project in a generation, is set to bring nearly £2.5 billion of benefits to the UK economy.
The A14 upgrade has employed over 14,000 people in total, with up to 2,500 working on site during the project’s peak. Building the new road took 14 million construction hours – the equivalent of almost 1,600 years.
Work to remove the final sections of the viaduct will take place over the two months. It will take two weekends starting on Saturday 23 October to move the southern section away from the East Coast Main Line. It’ll then take seven weeks to lower the southern section to ground level, before demolishing it and clear the arisings. The equipment used to remove the southern section will then be transferred to the north, with work beginning to remove it away from the East Coast Main Line on Saturday 27 November for two weekends followed by the same seven-week process to lower it, demolish and clear arisings