Work to upgrade A10/A142 BP roundabout gets green light as scheme is given final go-ahead
- Credit: Archant
Work is due to begin on upgrading the A10/A142 BP roundabout in Ely after the scheme was given the final go-ahead from Cambridgeshire County Council.
Construction is scheduled for July with completion expected by the end of November, after the council’s highways and transport committee gave the green light on June 16.
The council also approved a consultation on the design proposals for the A142/Lancaster Way roundabout, bringing that project – with a potential completion date of April 2021 – one step closer.
A council report shows the two roundabout projects will be partly funded by the developer of the business park, Grovemere Property, which will contribute £988,355. East Cambridgeshire District Council is proposing to fund £150,000, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will contribute £1,890,770.
The decision on the BP roundabout was hailed as a welcome step to alleviate traffic problems on “probably one of the busiest roundabouts in Cambridgeshire” and described as an “essential” step to progress development on the Lancaster Way Business Park, creating an estimated 3,000 jobs.
But the approval was not without controversy as the scheme was strongly criticised over its provisions for walking and cycling, with one cycling campaigner calling it “dangerous”.
Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Councillor Anna Bailey, described it as “an incredibly important scheme to the residents of East Cambridgeshire”.
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She said: “It has taken a huge amount of effort, resource and energy to get to this point.”
And she stressed that both roundabouts need upgrading to make the desired impact.
Cllr Bailey said: “What the traffic modelling shows is that you can do what you want to the BP roundabout but unless you do something to improve the Lancaster Way roundabout you really see very little improvement at all so they need to be done in conjunction with each other.”
But she also made clear that even then it will not completely solve transport problems in the area.
“This has been long overdue, doing something about this roundabout,” she added.
“But I also just want to set expectations because this upgrade is only a very minor interim upgrade. As long as I’ve fought to make it happen, it is only really mitigation.
“We need to set expectations here that this is not going to make the world dreamlike around these two roundabouts, it’s a very difficult area and this is not going to fix all the problems there.”
Matthew Danish, speaking on behalf of the Cambridge and Ely cycling campaign groups, told the meeting the design of the new BP roundabout is “seriously flawed”.
He said: “This roundabout is currently one of the major hurdles in the cycling route between Witchford and Ely and the proposed changes will make the crossing even more dangerous than it is today.
“The proposed design asks for people to dash somehow across multiple lanes of high-speed motor traffic that is exiting from the roundabout.
“Think about it – would you be comfortable allowing your family to try and cross in such a dangerous place? Is it really right to put other people into such a desperate situation?”
Councillor for the area, Bill Hunt, said the upgrade is “extremely important”.
He said the Sutton to Ely cycleway has had “extensive investment already and I think it might be if we have to share out the fishes and the bread it would certainly be that we should be looking at some of these other communities”.
He said the Sutton to Ely route “does require – eventually – an improvement in one or two places; at the moment it is substantially in advance of [other routes in the area]”.
Councillor Noel Kavanagh said the lack of provision for walking and cycling is a “big piece missing” and urged the council to address it as a “priority”.
Councillor Ian Manning suggested the council ask the contractor to improve the design for pedestrians and cyclists.
But Cllr Bailey said that would require an additional budget and said the Combined Authority is already working on plans that should address issues with walking and cycling in that area.
She said: “I am incredibly cognizant of the issues in this location for pedestrians and cyclists and horse riders, and the Combined Authority has an absolute commitment to do something to improve the issues, because we can’t continue to let Witchford be cut off in terms of active travel and sustainable forms of transport.
“This – what is effectively a tiny scheme where we have scraped together the funding from all these different funding sources – cannot deliver the necessary improvements that are needed for cycling and walking, but those are coming.”
Chairman of the committee, Councillor Ian Bates, said the improvements for walking and cycling “firmly sits with” the Combined Authority’s plans for that part of the A10.
“It is sitting on their side of the tennis net and it’s not on our side of the tennis net – it’s on the Combined Authority’s side and that’s the way it should be developed, they are the transport authority, they have got a project,” he said.
The county council’s assistant director for infrastructure and growth, Andrew Preston, said: “I think if we looked at doing something in parallel or separate to that [the Combined Authority’s work] we would risk not being joined up with that.”
Cllr Hunt said a change “being proposed at the last minute” would cause a delay and risked jobs.
The decision to proceed was approved unanimously.