One of Cambridgeshire’s worst accident black-spots is a top priority for safety work, the Government’s roads chief has told the News.
Roads minister Mike Penning has pledged that efforts are in hand to tackle a non-stop wave of accidents and lorry breakdowns at Spittals interchange on the A14.
In the past month, the junction has been hit by three major incidents, all of which have led to huge jams along the length of the trunk road between Huntingdon and Cambridge.
On July 21, a van driver was seriously hurt in a crash at the interchange, which led to the eastbound carriageway being closed for hours.
On July 27, a lorry driver had a lucky escape when his vehicle overturned on the Spittals roundabout.
And on Tuesday this week, the A14 was again closed eastbound when a truck carrying flour toppled on to its side. Once again, lengthy delays were caused while emergency services worked to clear the accident.
Since January 1, there have been 14 collisions and 27 vehicle breakdowns – an average of one incident every five and half days.
As the News has reported, highways bosses have approved a £20 million jam-busting scheme on the A14, scheduled to begin this summer and be completed in 2013. The work includes changing the layout of the Spittals interchange, junction 23, and the Girton interchange at junction 31.
Speaking exclusively to the News, Mr Penning said the Government was prioritising the work, adding he was aware of how dangerous the A14 was.
He said: “I understand the dangers, trouble and frustration users experience in several places along the A14, including on the section between Brampton Hut and the Spittals interchange near Huntingdon.
“The new Huntingdon bypass that we are proposing as part of the A14 upgrades in Cambridgeshire will remove a lot of traffic from this section of road. This major road scheme could begin to be constructed by 2018.
“In the short term, I am planning to increase the safety and efficiency of the Spittals interchange to improve matters until the longer term solution can be put into place. Most of these works will take place next year.”
Signing and road lines on the exit slip road from the southbound A1-A14 link road will be upgraded at Spittals, the Department for Transport said.
A spokesman said: “This will allow traffic signal timings around the junction to be adjusted, increasing traffic flow.”