Highways England has awarded a new £507 million contract to Skanska to carry out dualling work on the A428 in Cambridgeshire.
Roadworkers in JCB work clothes may soon be a common sight on the 16km stretch of the A428 between the Black Cat roundabout at St Neots and Caxton Gibbett, as this is the section where the project will take place.
This part of the route has been a priority for Highways England as it is the only remaining single stretch of highway on the route between Cambridge and the junction with the M1 at Milton Keynes. By adding a second lane, this will ensure fewer bottlenecks on the busy route.
Among the benefits of the project will be a reduction of one third in journey times and increased road safety, as fewer motorists will seek to evade the route by using local village roads as rat runs.
Managing director of Skanska’s Infrastructure business Jonathan Wilcock said: “We’re delighted to have agreed this contract with Highways England which will deliver lasting benefits to the region.”
Highways England project director Lee Galloway said the work will “transform one of the busiest road links in the East of England,” reducing weekly commutes for those living in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire by an hour and a half per week.
The A428 stretches east of St Neots to Bedford, from where the A421 provides a link to Junction 13 of the M1, and then in a north-westerly direction to Northampton.
Improvements on the A428 may be particularly important for commuters at the eastern end of the Oxford-Cambridge ‘knowledge corridor’, following the recent cancellation on cost grounds of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said alternatives would be looked at for improving connections, in particular through the restoration of the rail connections provided by the Varsity line before its closure as part of the Beeching Cuts.