For decades it has felt like a bridge too far, but there will be much rejoicing now that quicker road commuting times between Peterborough and Whittlesey are fast approaching.
There will be no drawbacks now a new bridge over King's Dyke Level Crossing has opened today, Monday 11 July, to add to the feel good mood now that summer is upon us.
Regular delays caused by passing trains will now be a thing of the past thanks to the speedy progress made by Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK. After hitting this major milestone, the civil engineering contractor will now focus its attention on the existing A605 as work enters the final stretch of the £32 million scheme.
This includes completing the eastern roundabout tie-in, which Jones Bros can only action when traffic is using the new road. There will be approximately three weeks of two-way traffic lights, operating 24 hours a day while this work is completed.
Further works include the construction of an embankment near Forterra, works at Funtham's Lane, landscaping, and the closure and removal of the level crossing.
Jones Bros was appointed by Cambridgeshire County Council and began on site in July 2020 with works expected to continue until the end of this year. However, commuters will notice significantly reduced travel times and disruption after the eastern tie-in works are completed, with no further traffic management planned on the new road as part of the scheme.
Welcoming the news that the new bridge is now open is chair of the county council's Highways and Transport Committee, Cllr Alex Beckett who said: "I'm delighted to hear that from today we can say goodbye to delays at the level crossing.
"I would like to thank everyone for their patience while the works have been ongoing and please bear with us for a little longer while the final pieces of work are finished. I'd also like to thank the teams at Jones Bros and the county council for all their hard work and keeping residents informed with fortnightly updates which I know have been well received."
The major project has been delivered thanks to the support of a number of partners, including Fenland District and Whittlesey Town councils and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority - the latter providing crucial funding.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: "This is a triumph for everyone who has worked to make it happen. Helping get landmark projects like this off the ground is exactly what the Combined Authority was created for. We're here to support ambitious schemes that will benefit all the community and turn sustainable growth into reality for all. With Combined Authority backing, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can think big and deliver real change for the wider public good."
Cllr Chris Boden, Leader of Fenland District Council and local County Council member for Whittlesey North, said: "This is a momentous day and one which has only been made possible thanks to the hard work of so many people.
"The new road will now bring much relief to the people of Whittlesey and I'm looking forward to the project being fully completed later this year, when the level crossing will finally be able to be closed."
And while there will be huge relief that the new bridge has been delivered sooner than expected and on budget, there will be a timely reminder of the delays which used to be such a cause of frustration thanks to a time capsule burial which took place last November.
This saw memories including postcards, letters, photos and newspaper cuttings stored in one place by Cambridgeshire County Council and former pupils of New Road and Park Lane Primary Schools in Whittlesey about what life used to be like for people travelling across the level crossing and when it was built during COVID-19.
The project will be fully completed by the end of the year (2022).
Article Date: July 2022