A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme

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Delivering the country’s largest road upgrade in a generation: the A14 story

The A14 provides a vital road transport corridor between the North, the Midlands and the East of England, and is of local, regional, national and international significance.

The section of the route between Huntingdon and Cambridge carries a high level of commuter as well as long-distance traffic and provides a strategic link between the A1 and the M11 motorway.

The award-winning A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme was developed to provide much needed added capacity to:

  • combat congestion
  • improve safety
  • unlock growth
  • connect people
  • leave a positive legacy

The main A14 scheme is now open for traffic, however we’re still carrying out finishing work along the new road. For the latest updates about this work, please visit the Finishing work page. We’re also still working in Huntingdon, for the latest information please visit the Huntingdon page.

Upgrading 21 miles of extremely busy road while keeping traffic moving was always going to be a challenge, but the A14 team rose to it, using innovation and technical know-how to minimise disruption on road users and the local community as much as possible.

The result was the delivery of a new and improved section of the A14 as well as a new local access road, the A1307, eight months ahead of schedule, both opening for traffic on 5 May 2020. Here are a few time-lapse videos we made during construction.

The size of the challenge

The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme was a road project on an epic scale. If you’ve driven along the scheme during construction and wondered just what it took to build it, have a look at some of the facts and figures below.

The size of the challenge

Construction photos

With a 21-mile long scheme, there was always a lot of change to see during the four years of construction. Here are a few highlights.

  • 1 of 40. Early view of the 12 mile Huntingdon southern bypass near the Great Ouse crossing, looking east towards Swavesey, April 2017.
  • 2 of 40. For the 750m long River Great Ouse viaduct, we used piling machinery to dig up to 30 metres into the ground to build the 64 pillars.
  • 3 of 40. We installed the A1198 bridge at Ermine Street by building the bridge deck and then digging the new Huntingdon southern bypass out underneath.
  • 4 of 40. Much of the 8 million m³ of materials sourced locally from borrow pits (out of the 10 million m³ needed for the scheme) was used to build the lower layers of the new bypass.
  • 5 of 40. 64 pillars, each around two metres wide, were built to support the 750m long River Great Ouse viaduct.
  • 6 of 40. We installed five pairs of 100-tonne steel girders for the bridge over the East Coast Main Line railway over two Sunday nights in late 2017, while the trains weren’t running.
  • 7 of 40. The 64 pillars we built for the River Great Ouse viaduct support 17 spans of steel beams which form the bridge deck.
  • 8 of 40. We completed the construction of the River Great Ouse viaduct in January 2019, after 18 months of intense work.
  • 9 of 40. View from underneath the River Great Ouse viaduct not long after it was completed. It only takes around 30 seconds to drive from one end to the other now!
  • 10 of 40. View of the bypass heading east, from above the southern side of the new A1/A14 Brampton Interchange in construction, April 2019.
  • 11 of 40. Brand new tarmac on the new, 12 mile long Huntingdon southern bypass in late summer 2019.
  • 12 of 40. We opened the new, 12-mile Huntingdon southern bypass in December 2019, a year ahead of schedule.
  • 13 of 40. We opened the new, 12-mile Huntingdon southern bypass in December 2019, a year ahead of schedule.
  • 14 of 40. View of the River Great Ouse viaduct and Huntingdon southern bypass after opening, February 2020.
  • 15 of 40. Secretary of State for Transport the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP and Highways England CEO Jim O’Sullivan officially marked the start of construction on the A14 project at the future location of Swavesey compound in November 2016.
  • 16 of 40. The Swavesey junction had to undergo a complete remodelling to allow traffic to move between the new A14 and A1307 (old A14) as well as maintain access to and from Swavesey, Boxworth and the Cambridge Services. Here is a progress picture from October 2017.
  • 17 of 40. The Swavesey junction had to undergo a complete remodelling to allow traffic to move between the new A14 and A1307 (old A14) as well as maintain access to and from Swavesey, Boxworth and the Cambridge Services. Here is a progress picture from October 2018.
  • 18 of 40. A new pedestrian and cycle bridge is a significant addition to the new Swavesey junction. Here it is, being installed in August 2019.
  • 19 of 40. An aerial view of the nearly finished new Swavesey junction in February 2020.
  • 20 of 40. Remodelling the Bar Hill junction was one of the biggest challenges on the project. We needed to allow traffic to move between the new A14 and A1307 (old A14), while maintaining access to and from Bar Hill and Longstanton and the north villages, Dry Drayton and Oakington. Here is a progress picture from July 2018.
  • 21 of 40. To minimise disruption for access to and from Bar Hill as much as possible, we built the two new junction bridges at the side of the A14 and wheeled them into place once ready, during a single weekend closure in September 2018. This saved an estimated 13 weeks of overnight closures.
  • 22 of 40. One of the two new Bar Hill junction bridges being lowered into place over the A14 in September 2018. Building the bridges by the side of the A14 saved an estimated 13 weeks of overnight closures.
  • 23 of 40. Once the two Bar Hill junction bridges were in place and the easternmost one was connected, we closed the old bridge (seen here on the far right of the image) and demolished it.
  • 24 of 40. With the A1307 in place to the north and the A14 widened under the junction bridges, the final pieces of the Bar Hill junction puzzle were the building of the new pedestrian, cycle and horse-riding bridge, and the westbound exit and entry slip roads.
  • 25 of 40. An aerial view of the nearly finished new Bar Hill junction in February 2020.
  • 26 of 40. We built a bridge over the A428 at Girton to accommodate a new free flow link for the westbound A14 so drivers would no longer need to use the cloverleaf loop.
  • 27 of 40. We opened the first section of the new A1307, between Cambridge and Dry Drayton, in March 2019.
  • 28 of 40. A lot of the work to upgrade the existing A14 between Swavesey and Milton involved working in the middle of the carriageway with live traffic moving on either side of us. This helped maintain capacity on the road throughout construction.
  • 29 of 40. Roads minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton visited us on 10 October 2019 to announce that we were ready to open the new Huntingdon southern bypass a year early.
  • 30 of 40. View of the nearly finished Girton junction in February 2020.
  • 31 of 40. To minimise the amount of construction traffic on the road network, we had a pre-cast yard on-site, where all of the bridge decks and parapets were made from scratch.
  • 32 of 40. We crushed up and recycled the materials we collected from the old road surfaces to use in the foundations of the new roads.
  • 33 of 40. To build the new A1/A14 Brampton interchange, we had to move the A1 west a little and build the new A14 alongside it with a new flyover near the old Brampton roundabout, taking the A14 west over the A1.
  • 34 of 40. The upgrade of 3.5 miles of A1 between Brampton and Alconbury from two to three lanes in each direction was the first section of the project to open for traffic on 25 March 2019.
  • 35 of 40. View of the A1/A14 Brampton interchange from above the New Ellington junction in April 2019.
  • 36 of 40. View of the A1 and A14 running in parallel, with some of our borrow pits (where we sourced 80% of the construction materials for the new roads) now transformed into lakes. The new Grafham Road bridge on the right runs over 12 lanes of carriageway.
  • 37 of 40. View of the finished A1/A14 Brampton interchange from above the New Ellington junction (bottom left) in February 2020.
  • 38 of 40. Widening the road between Histon and Milton from two to three lanes in each direction was a big challenge as there wasn’t much space. Here, the team is stitching the two existing carriageways together to make space for one of the new lanes.
  • 39 of 40. Widening the road between Histon and Milton from two to three lanes in each direction was a big challenge as there wasn’t a lot of space to do so. A lot of work happened on the side of carriageways right next to live traffic.
  • 40 of 40. View of the nearly finished Histon junction in February 2020.

The opening of the upgraded A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon supports the growth of the national economy by enabling the efficient movement of people and freight from our largest ports to other parts of the country. It also supports local growth by enabling 23,000 new homes to be built and helps unlock the regional economy.


We’d like to thank our funding partners for helping to make the scheme possible:

  • Department for Transport
  • The Business Board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Huntingdonshire District Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Fenland District Council
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Essex County Council
  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships in South East Midlands and East Anglia

Here’s what some of our partners have said about the opening for traffic of the new A14.

FTA and its members are thrilled to see the upgraded A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon route is now open. This stretch represents an important strategic link for freight transport, connecting the ports in East Anglia with the Midlands and the rest of England; logistics businesses will benefit hugely from faster and easier journeys.

“The economy relies on efficient and reliable road networks to keep goods moving across the UK, but for too long, poor road connectivity in the heart of England has impacted businesses and slowed economic growth; this will all change with the opening of the new A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon stretch.”

– Natalie Chapman, Head of East of England, South of England, and Urban Policy at Freight Transport Association


The business community is really delighted at the early opening of the A14 and in particular, the very positive and timely way the scheme has been developed. Whilst there has been some short-term challenges which can be expected in a construction scheme of this magnitude, the significant medium and long term benefits will we know far outweigh the short term issues.

The timing of completion as we begin to recover post-Covid 19 is of significant importance as businesses try to find new ways to operate and get staff and goods into work safely. I know from personal experience how businesses as well as individuals are already benefiting from the shorter and more reliable journey times. A welcome tonic at the current time.

The biggest barrier to the recovery, growth and economic success for all in our area has now well and truly been dealt with together with the added bonus of my personal 25 year dream becoming a reality.”

– John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce


These works have taken a long time, and I’m pleased that they have been able to work through the Covid-19 lockdown and finish early. This proves that with proper project management we can complete major infrastructure works in this county on time and in budget, bringing benefits to travellers across the region. I hope the other major works planned for our area take note of the success of the A14 scheme and seek to emulate it.”

– James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough


It is truly fantastic news that the whole A14 project is now open to traffic. This will be welcome news for residents and communities along the A14, it will not only benefit drivers with quicker and safer journeys but will ease the congestion experienced by many local communities and is great news for those drivers who have patiently waited in traffic while the new roads have been built.

“The A14 upgrade was vital to boost the local economy, improve connectivity and support growth in the area. I would like to thank Highways England and their contractors for their hard work and thank local residents and businesses for their patience during this project.”

– Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee


It is great news that the new section of the A14 is opening much earlier than first anticipated. The A14 is a vital connection for Huntingdonshire, providing essential infrastructure to thousands of hard-working residents, businesses and drivers beyond.

“The investment in this major piece of infrastructure has been in the pipeline for a long time and I am pleased that our area will now be able to reap the benefits of the upgrade as a result of the sustained campaign that HDC, neighbouring councils, MPs and other stakeholders led. HDC also contributed £5million towards the upgrade as part of a wider regional package of funding that kickstarted the project. This investment will lead to decreased travel times and a significant reduction in congestion for local people as well as greatly improved regional connectivity – all of which will support the prosperity of the Huntingdonshire economy.”

– Cllr Ryan Fuller, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC)


Supporting local businesses during construction

Locally, we sourced over £120 million of goods and services for the scheme through over 50 businesses.


Here’s what some of the local businesses who worked on the A14 project have said.

  • Local communities


    Creating a positive legacy for Cambridgeshire by improving the lives of local people.

  • Photos – in the community

    • 1 of 17. Throughout construction, we wanted local communities to have access to the information they needed. We used a mobile visitor centre so we could visit villages along the scheme on a regular basis to give people updates – it was bookable by local parishes and proved very popular.
    • 2 of 17. We involved local communities in as many of our milestones as we could – Brampton and Grafham parishes helped us open the new Grafham road bridge in February 2018.
    • 3 of 17. We involved local communities in as many of our milestones as we could – Conington parish helped us open the new Conington bridge in May 2019.
    • 4 of 17. We carried out public information events before construction started and at various point during construction to ensure local communities were aware of our plans and could ask us questions.
    • 5 of 17. We carried out public information events before construction started and at various point during construction to ensure local communities were aware of our plans and could ask us questions.
    • 6 of 17. We put £450,000 into many local projects via our Community Fund – for instance we funded a new visitor centre at Brampton Wood for the Wildlife Trust.
    • 7 of 17. We put £450,000 into many local projects via our Community Fund – for instance we funded a writer in residence and creative writing courses which were run by the University of Cambridge.
    • 8 of 17. We put £450,000 into many local projects via our Community Fund – for instance we funded a set of murals to be painted at a primary school near Huntingdon.
    • 9 of 17. We organised a charity race on the Huntingdon bypass in October 2019, before it opened to traffic. The event was attended by 2,000 local athletes and raised an estimated £26,000 for local charities.
    • 10 of 17. We made sure people locally had the chance to come see progress on-site on a regular basis so staged open doors events at least once a year, including this welly walk on the future Huntingdon southern bypass in September 2018.
    • 11 of 17. With the amount of interest our archaeology story got in the media, we wanted to give people an opportunity to experience some of it first-hand so organised a summer community dig near Huntingdon, which was a success.
    • 12 of 17. We made sure people locally had the chance to come see progress on-site on a regular basis so staged open doors events at least once a year, including this archaeology open day in Huntingdon in December 2018.
    • 13 of 17. We worked closely with the media to bring fresh news and stories to people locally and further afield. We hosted BBC Look East for a special edition of the 6 o’clock news at our Swavesey compound for our two-year anniversary in December 2018.
    • 14 of 17. We worked closely with the local media to bring fresh news and stories to people, including inviting them to our public information events regularly.
    • 15 of 17. Swavesey Primary School performed a specially-written ‘Twelve Days of A14 Christmas’ song for us in December 2019.
    • 16 of 17. The A14 project has been an inclusive place to work. It was the first construction project to become part of the Armed Forces Covenant scheme, giving veterans and military spouses increased access to career opportunities in the construction sector.
    • 17 of 17. The A14 project supported a number of local charities via donations and volunteering throughout construction, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice.

Find out more

For more details about the A14 project, including a scheme timeline, how we set out to meet our objectives, and what’s left to do, read our brochure: Delivering the benefits: A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme.

A14 end of scheme brochure - front page