I’ve had a reply from Chris Griffin to my recent open letter to him. I’ve quoted it below.
It took a long time to arrive (I got it this morning which is 10 days after I sent my letter) and it’s a bit longer than I’d have wanted. I’ll pass no more judgement but leave it to others to decide whether or not it really addresses the issues which I raised.
To its credit the A14 team did deliver on promise last weekend. This coming weekend no works are planned.
Dear Cllr Jenkins,
Many thanks for your open letter of 13 September regarding our work at on the A14 Histon, junction 32, during the weekend of 13-15 September.
I’m sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the way we’ve managed the temporary closure of the Histon junction over the A14 during that weekend.
I understand your concerns and acknowledge that although we’d notified people about the upcoming work and closure at this location more than a week in advance via our normal communications channels, due to late changes in the works being undertaken the correct information about the closure was only shared with very short notice.
I am however disappointed that you feel we are generally giving limited attention to the impact our work is having on local communities and our partners. The A14 improvement scheme is a complex project as you recognise yourself, the biggest in construction in the country currently and one that is much needed locally and nationally.
I acknowledge that living near a project this size can have a big impact on people’s lives but I can assure you that the team has been working very hard to minimise that impact as much as we safely can, and to keep people informed to help them plan ahead. We’ve also been working well with all our partners including Cambridgeshire County Council and Stagecoach to both keep them informed and to coordinate closures and communications to local communities.
During the weekend of 13-15 September, the north eastern quadrant of the junction (which affects access to Bridge Road B1049 southbound, A14 eastbound Histon J32 entry slip) was being resurfaced. During the preparation we identified additional works that needed immediate attention. This changed the extent of the closure at short notice.
We initially shared the information about the north eastern quadrant work at junction 32 in our weekly look ahead on Thursday 5 September, which goes out to a range of stakeholders including local authorities and parish councils. However, once it was clear that the closure needed for the extra works was different from what had been communicated (full northern half of the junction plus B1049 rather than just the quadrant), an update to this closure was shared on the weekly look ahead on Thursday 12 September. A social media confirmation post was also shared on Friday 13 September on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and an update shared with Stagecoach.
Due to the short notice change in works, while we had hoped to maintain access for pedestrians and cyclists we were unable to do so for safety reasons.
When we can we do provide as much access as possible. For the closure on the 20-22 September we were able to maintain access for cyclists and pedestrians along the southbound B1049 Bridge Road.
I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience that the lack of clarity around our work at Histon junction (J32) during the weekend of 13-15 September may have caused people locally. Hopefully you can understand the reasons why we were unable to provide more notice on the changes in the closure. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our team via A14CambridgeHuntingdon@highwaysengland.co.uk
Highways England | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW