Construction work on the much-delayed A14 improvement programme will begin later this year after the transport secretary gave the project the green light.
Highways England confirmed that Patrick McLoughlin’s decision had paved the way for construction to start on the £1.2bn project later this year, more than six years after it was scrapped by the government.
Design work had begun on the A14 scheme in 2008 under the Labour government but it became the most expensive approved project to be canned as part of the coalition’s 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Balfour Beatty / Carillion and a Costain / Skanska joint venture have been selected as the contractors to deliver the project – the first to be tendered under Highways England’s Collaborative Delivery Framework.
Last year, the Costain / Skanska consortium was awarded the £600m contract to carry out the first two packages of works for the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
It was the second time the team had been appointed to the scheme.
In 2008 Costain / Skanska won a £344m contract to build part of the scheme but this was cancelled after the coalition announced the scrapping of the project.
The Balfour Beatty / Carillion JV secured the £292m contract to widen the section of the A14 between Swavesey and Milton last September.
The JV appointment came after Highways England retendered the package of work due to “concerns over contractors’ ability to meet long-term targets on issues including passenger safety”.
A partnership between Atkins and CH2M was awarded the £35.3m detailed design contract for the A14 in June.
A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon upgrade map
A fourth package for the demolition of the viaduct over the East Coast Main Line at Huntingdon will be awarded in 2019.
Mr McLoughlin’s decision comes 18 months after the then Highways Agency first put forward its replan for the A14 to the Planning Inspectorate.
After a consultation and examination last year, the scheme was submitted given to Mr McLoughlin for approval in February.
When completed, the 34 km scheme will include a major new bypass between Swavesey and Brampton and the widening of the existing A14 road between Swavesey and Milton and Brampton and Alconbury.
The improvements will also include improvements to Huntingdon town centre and the replacement of the A14 viaduct with a new local access road.
Highways England director for complex infrastructure Chris Taylor said: “The scheme will provide much-needed additional capacity to improve journey times and safety.
“We are keen to keep the momentum going and will get preparations for construction under way as soon as possible after the end of the six-week statutory challenge period.”