When a large part of a major infrastructure upgrade is completed months ahead of schedule, everybody concerned has good reason to celebrate.
The construction of the new route on the A14, which runs between Felixstowe and the Catthorpe Interchange, began in November 2016, and was to have been completed by the end of 2020. However, although there is some work still to be done on the link roads into Huntingdon, as well as the landscaping of the new route and the completion of the cycle, pedestrian and bridle paths, the main road, including the Huntingdon Bypass, has been finished, and the 70 mph speed limit reinstated.
Highways England chose Atkins, in a joint venture with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc, to design the route, and part of the brief was the protection of wildlife habitats and the enhancement of the environment. This part of Cambridgeshire is home to many much loved birds and mammals, some of which are rare. The scheme includes twenty-four wildlife tunnels.
The Huntingdon Bypass runs between Ellington and Swavesey.
Highways England, who appointed Costain Group, Skanska and Balfour Beatty to form the joint venture to complete the work, said that the journey time between Cambridge and Huntingdon could be cut by as much as twenty minutes. Residents and businesses in the town are already reaping the benefits of the upgrade.
Shay Murtagh Precast Concrete was commissioned to manufacture and deliver the precast bridge units for twenty structures along the route. All seventeen of the precast bridge units for the main road were delivered on schedule ready to be craned into position by Ainscough Crane Hire, and the remaining three for the link roads will be completed and delivered as required.
The precast concrete beams are 36 metres long. Shay Murtagh, with over four decades of experience in the field, were the obvious choice for the project, and precast and prestressed concrete is now the favourite material for bridge construction. Durable and robust, it offers unsurpassed value for money, and the simplicity of installing the beams by crane contributed to the substantial reductions in construction times that resulted in the early opening of the major part of the new road.