Here at ReturnLoads.net we can report that proposals to toll part of a new 22-mile £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon have been unveiled by the Highways Agency today.
The proposal includes charges such as £1-£1.50 for light commercial vehicles and up to £3 for each trip made by heavy commercial vehicles. It is suggested that the tolls should operate seven days a week between 06:00 and 22:00.
Upgrades were welcome by the Freight Transport Association, it said it was essential that industry was properly consulted on how best to introduce the charges.
“FTA members realise that without tolling it will be difficult to raise the necessary funding for new infrastructure, but our members want to ensure that any tolling that is put in place is reasonable.” Said Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at the FTA.
The FTA says a range of criteria need to be meet in each case where government looks to help fund the cost of new infrastructure with tolls in the future.
Alternative non-tolled routes always need to be available to traffic, it says, while lower charges should also apply to cleaner or lighter vehicles using the routes.
It wants to see more long-term planning of road building, and subsequent potential tolls, detailed by government, and says other road charges and fuel duties should be reduced as the charges are introduced.
All money raised by a toll should be ring-fenced and used to maintain the route in question, it says, while a harmonised UK-wide system for tolls should be used. The FTA suggests the automatic number plate reading cameras being introduced on the Dartford crossing next autumn is an ideal solution as it removes the congestion caused by toll plazas.
A series of public exhibitions on the A14 project will be held through September and October, while interested parties have until Wednesday 23 October to put forward their views on the 22-mile project. Besides money from tolls, a further £100 million is being provided for the scheme from Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and Cambrideshire County Council.
ReturnLoads.net understands the 22-mile project is set to begin work in 2016 and be completed in 2019/2020.