A14 Collapses Under Load

17:06 Wednesday 16th November 2011
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

ANDY BURROWS: Let’s talk about the A14 first of all today, because I know that many of you listening to this programme will be on the A14 this afternoon, or this evening as it is. Big problems on the road today, after part of it collapsed. It took place on the inside lane of the eastbound carriageway between junctions 30 and 31. It’s the Girton Interchange. You’ll know it well. It led to delays of up to two hours at rush hour this morning. Mike Wherrett from the Highways Agency spoke to Andy Harper. (TAPE)
MIKE WHERRETT: What is going on out there is totally unplanned. There was a significant problem noticed yesterday afternoon, evening with the inside lane of that slip road over about a twenty thirty metre length, where there was quite a significant crack and depression opened up in the middle of the inside lane. And we decided that it was not safe to leave that lane open in its condition as it was there. So we closed the lane, so that we can go in and do some repairs, to get it back into a safe condition. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Well Mr Wherrett said the issue was unlikely to be resolved tonight. (TAPE)
MIKE WHERRITT: It’s not a surface problem. The problem is a little bit lower down, under the road surface. So we’re going to have to dig down a little bit and determine just what actually caused this sudden deterioration in the surface. And that’s the work we’re doing, and we will get the slip road reopened, that inside lane reopened, as soon as possible. But my estimate at the moment is that it won’t be opened this evening, but we will make every effort to have it open for tomorrow morning’s rush hour. (LIVE)
ANDY HARPER: Well one caller to Andy Harper’s Show this morning was Nigel Sugars. He was incensed, furious he was, that when he drove past the part of the road which had caused all the hold-ups, no-one was working on it. Here was Mr Wherrett’s reponse. (TAPE)
MIKE WHERRETT: We had to have some time to mobilise the necessary workforce to get out there and start doing something. Yes. So there was a bit of a time lag in there. But we are out there looking to get things done as soon as we can. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Let’s find out what’s in the Hunts Post this week. We can speak to Mark Shields, one of the reporters. Hello to you Mark.
MARK SHIELDS: Hello Andy. How are you.
ANDY BURROWS: I’m good, thank you very much. We’ve been talking about the A14 for thee last few days. I know that it’s something that features heavily in your paper this week.
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right, yes. The notorious A14. I think we’ve all been caught in it at one stage or another. Some of your listeners are probably stuck in it now. And I expect you’re sick of reporting delays on the road. The improvements were scrapped last year, but in the past week there’s been a glimmer of hope for people in terms of the possibility of new money being available. And our MP in Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, believes that money might be available sooner than we think, which means that now si the time to put our case. The Chancellor is looking for infrastructure projects,. things to kick-start and reinvigorate he economy. And there’s nowhere better to look than the A14, which is why we’ve launched our upgrade campaign today. The Hunts Post A14 Upgrade encourages people to get behind the bid. You can go to our website, sign the petition, tell us your stories, the way that the road affects your day to day life.
ANDY BURROWS: Are you nailing your colours to a particular mast? Do you want to see the road improved through Government money, or private money? Do you want a toll?
MARK SHIELDS: We want to see progress. We want to see anything that improves the prospects for Huntingdonshire. We have businesses coming to us all the time telling us that delays on the road cost them thousands every year, commuters who can’t get into work, people who miss hospital appointments, court dates, all kinds of things, just because of delays on the road. So anything that eases that congestion and improves conditions on the roads, we will get behind.