The Government has cancelled the £1 billion A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton scheme as well as seven other A road improvement schemes as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
A statement from the Department for Transport said: “We recognise that this corridor faces severe congestion, and that mobility along the route is critical for economic success and growth. However, the current scheme is simply unaffordable under any reasonable future funding scenario. The department is therefore withdrawing the current scheme.”
The DfT will now undertake a study “to identify cost effective and practical proposals” to ease congestion on the road. Costain and Skanska were both working on a section of the scheme under an Early Contractor Involvement contract with the Highways Agency.
The following schemes have also been cancelled because they are not seen as likely to receive funding in the current spending review period, or the next one:
- A21 Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst
- A19 Moor Farm
- A19 Seaton Burn Interchange
- A21 Baldslow Interchange
- A21 Flimwell to Robertsbridge
- A1 Leeming to Barton
- A47 Blofield to North Burlingham
The Highways Agency’s capital expenditure budget for 2010/11 is £1.57bn but will fall to £921m in 2012/13 and then £877m in 2013/14 before increasing to £1.04bn in 2014/15.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association said it regretted that the Highways Agency capital spending programme is to fall by almost half.
Ceca national director Rosemary Beales said: “Contractors were aware that in order to substantially reduce the deficit transport infrastructure would have to play a part in the necessary cuts. It is highly regrettable, though, that schemes in which considerable time and money have already been invested are not to go ahead.
“These cuts will not help sustain an economic recovery which depends on businesses and communities having access to effective and efficient infrastructure.”
“It is highly regrettable that schemes in which considerable time and money have already been invested are not to go ahead.”
Ceca national director Rosemary Beales
The statement also said: “The Highways Agency have been taking forward a number of other schemes whose priority we are still considering, in light of the spending review settlement. Some will proceed in this spending review period; others will be the subject of further preparation for possible funding in future spending review periods. Further announcements will be made in the next few weeks.”