Recent public engagement over proposals to replace the King's Dyke level crossing near Whittlesey has met with overwhelming support from local residents.
827 responses were received to Cambridgeshire County Council's consultation survey with 95 per cent of respondents saying they supported replacing the level crossing at this well-known traffic pinchpoint.
Location 3, the option for a bridge and bypass of the crossing around buildings to the south, received the support of a majority of respondents (58 per cent). Locations 1 and 2 gained 17 per cent and 23 per cent of preferences respectively. The bridge and bypass route was also supported by Whittlesey Town Council.
The Location 3 route will provide the least disruption to existing traffic during construction and affects fewer businesses than other routes - although as a longer route that will take up to three additional months to build and cost slightly more than other options.
In order to join the existing A605 the bypass will require roundabouts at both Funthams Lane and the access to the Hanson's works. The inclusion of roundabouts at these points was seen as a particular benefit of the proposal by local workers who find it difficult to exit these roads safely at busy times.
Councillor Ralph Butcher, Member for Whittlesey South at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "I am pleased there was a good response to the consultation, and that there is a majority in favour of one of the options."
Councillor Martin Curtis, Member for Whittlesey North at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Whittlesey residents have been blighted by this crossing which, combined with flooding, can bring the whole town to a grinding halt. I"˜m really pleased to see the results of the survey and look forward to this scheme moving forward."
Alistair Frost, Project Manager said: "We're really pleased with the level of response from local residents. The overwhelming message we've received is that there's a lot of support for an alternative to the level crossing especially one which will improve links to business sites."
The latest technical estimates from the consultants suggest the cost of replacing the level crossing at Location 3 may be up to Â£16.9m including contingencies for unforeseen circumstances. It is anticipated that as the scheme develops and a number of risks are removed, the overall cost of the project will be reduced. The majority of funding has already been allocated with Â£5m from the Growth Deal, Â£3m from the Local Transport Body and Â£3.5m County Council funding.
Plans for the scheme are due to be discussed the next Economy and Environment Committee in February. A decision about the scheme including will be made at this meeting. Should improvements to King's Dyke be approved, Council Officers will take forward the chosen location to the first stage of the planning process.
The consultation ran from 30 October to 15 December 2014 and involved public exhibitions and information in the local Discovering Whittlesea magazine which is distributed across Whittlesey, Eastrea and Coates. It was also advertised on posters around the areas, through postcards available in council buildings and GPs surgeries, via Facebook, Twitter and through parent mail. Information was also made available in the local library.