The notorious Black Cat roundabout is at the heart of a major road scheme set to transform the area for motorists.
Highways England has revealed a project that will improve the east-west road link, and journeys on the A1, the A421 and the A428 will be improved by a new three tier junction at the Black Cat roundabout.
Drivers will be able to pass through the junction uninterrupted, while keeping the roundabout clear for drivers making turns between the roads.
And a new, 10 mile dual carriageway will link directly between the upgraded Black Cat junction and the Caxton Gibbet roundabout near Cambourne in Cambridgeshire, with a new junction at Cambridge road and new bridges. The existing A428 will become a local road serving communities between St Neots and Caxton Gibbet.
Options for the new road scheme were put to the public in 2017, and the route being announced today combines the best mix of benefits and were also the most popular options at consultation.
Highways England project lead Lee Galloway said: “This major new dual carriageway between St Neots and Cambridge and upgrade for the Black Cat junction will mean quicker and safer journeys for people and will also boost the economy and unlock housing. As well as significant improvements locally, the project will be a vital component in improving the regional and national road network. The improvements will complement our £1.5bn A14 upgrade and form part of a wider transformation of road links between Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.
“Well over 4,000 people took part in our consultation last year, with more than 2,000 people attending one of our public events, and it is great to see that our proposals have such strong backing. With the options now chosen, we can push ahead with a more detailed design, which we will put to people for their input again later this year.”
The improvements will cut the average peak time journeys between the Black Cat and Caxton Gibbet junctions by more than a third – around a 10 minute saving on every trip.
The new dual carriageway will lead directly to the Black Cat junction which is itself being upgraded to allow smoother, safer access between the A1, the A421 and the A428. The A428 currently joins the A1 at Wyboston 1.5 miles to the north.
Retaining the existing A428 for local traffic will offer significant benefits for communities along the route, while four new routes for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians will maintain and improve access across the new road.
The scheme is valued between £810m and £1.4bn, and is being funded by the Government’s £15bn Road Investment Strategy, the biggest investment in road infrastructure since the 1970s.
Today’s announcement paves the way for a further, more detailed consultation later in 2019, and a planning application, expected in 2020. Subject to statutory processes, main construction work on the upgrade could start before April 2022.
For more information about the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements and to keep up to date, visit www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A428