News that the Government is to provide money to bring forward the upgrading of the A14 received a mixed reaction in the Turner household.
I probably use the A14 more than any other main road and we regularly travel west beyond Cambridge to Huntingdon and on up the A1. We’ve been caught in jams many a time and every day there seems to be something in the news about a crash, injuries and even fatalities. For a long time the road has been branded as dangerous.
At home, our general view is that there’s no such thing as a dangerous road – it’s the people who use them – but at times the sheer volume of traffic on the A14 makes it almost impossible.
Plans for the upgrade still seem pretty vague, but the big fear appears to be that it will become a toll road. This would be outrageous.
A toll would place an extra burden on businesses and motorists and it would also lead to rat-running on smaller, local roads – simply displacing the congestion and creating danger spots elsewhere.
Given the amount of money raked in by the Treasury through the road fund licence, fuel duty and VAT – approaching £50 billion a year – road users would quite rightly feel hard done by if asked for more.
Anyway, the project has taken years to get off the ground and I think my wife may have put it back even further this week when she was hauled over (during peak time) to take part in a Highways Agency survey being carried out as part of work into the A14 upgrade.
Firstly she was cross that police officers were being used to pull over drivers (aren’t police meant to keep traffic flowing rather than causing hold-ups?).
Her annoyance levels grew when she was asked about where she was coming from and going to by someone who obviously had no local knowledge at all.
And the interview came to a fairly abrupt end when the chap asked her what our annual income was.
My wife is a fairly private person – few people have her email address, even fewer have her mobile phone number . . . and our income is no-one’s business except ours!
I hope the Highways Agency wasn’t relying on her answers to finalise its plans.