A new £145 million off-road public transport route has been green-lit to give travellers an alternative to using the A1307 'road of death'.
The A1307 from Haverhill to Cambridge is lined with signs telling drivers it is a 'high casualty route'.
Recent deaths on the road include 25-year-old Mathew Smyth, who was about to become a father, and Gail Brown, killed just three days before Christmas.
The road also suffers from congestion during peak times, particularly at the Cambridge end, at the junction with the A11, and around Linton.
A1307: Cambridgeshire's death road
A solution at last?
On Thursday (October 11) the Greater Cambridge Partnerships (GCP) executive board agreed to adopt “strategy one”, which includes an off-road “mass transit” route as the preferred strategy for the A1307 corridor.
The new route would not use existing roads, and although full details have not been announced it is likely to be for buses or tram-like vehicles with tyres.
The route will join at the Cambridge end with the guided busway or a proposed city metro. It will call at a proposed new railway station at Addenbrookes hospital before heading, via Great Shelford and Stapleford, to Sawston.
From there it will head to a park and ride terminus near the A505 which will serve people heading to the Babraham Research Campus and Granta Park.
As well as this, there is a potential extension to the route which connects Cambridge with Haverhill via Linton.
Construction of the £145 million route could be completed by spring 2024. The GCP says the project could benefit the region's economy by up to £320 million.
'The road, at the moment, doesn't function'
Lewis Herbert, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Partnerships executive board, and leader of Cambridge City Council, said the route was much needed, and could even be extended as far as Haverhill to alleviate traffic on the busy route.
“I think it is an excellent proposal,” said Cllr Herbert.
“It is important it benefits villages as well as taking a lot of commuter traffic off the road, whether that is people going to Addenbrookes, or other places like the Granta Park.”
Cllr Herbert said there was a potential to change the route to accommodate light rail, but that a “tyred solution” (buses or tram-like vehicles) was the preferred option.
He said rail is more expensive and, should the route be extended through Linton to Haverhill, the overall cost could end up being a lot higher.
Cllr Herbert said there were “clear benefits” to the off-road route.
“It is important to take traffic off the road,” said Cllr Herbert. “The road, at the moment, doesnt function. At peak times, we have traffic queuing over the Gog Magog hills.”
'Haverhill residents will be over the moon'
Cllr Aidan van de Weyer, deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said the off-road route was to be welcomed, but needed to demonstrate clear benefits for the villages it passed through.
He said local people had to gain form the “enhancements” brought by the off-road route.
Tony Brown, who represents Haverhill at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said the decision was “great news”.
He said improvements to the A1307 are “more than welcome and cannot come soon enough” to help people traveling between Haverhill and Cambridge.
Cllr Brown said: “I know that Haverhill residents will be over the moon. Anything to improve safety and traffic flow on the A1307 is great news.”
GCP officers will now develop detailed proposals for the delivery of the scheme including detailed route alignment, a specific location for the park and ride, and a review of the potential environmental impact.
They will also draw up landscaping and ecological design proposals to add “enhancements” to the area, maximising the potential of the off-road option including considering the possibility of parkland alongside the development.