A14: Loved, Hated, Needed

It's the road we love and hate in almost equal measure.  But it's certainly needed as it's the major road artery from Suffolk and East Anglia to the Midlands and it's the way we escape the Colneis Peninsula without struggling through Ipswich.

The idea of an East Anglian highway was conceived during the 1960s.  With the advent of major development in Felixstowe, such a highway became a necessity, but rather than develop a whole new route such as a motorway, it was decided to improve the A45 east of Cambridge and the A604 to the west, with a new link to the M1 and M6.  This would allow traffic to move into East Anglia from the Midlands and North.    It was all built piecemeal, with dualling an bypasses.  Why?   I gather cost was the main consideration.  Improved A roads were also considered a more acceptable option than motorways in the 1970s because of increasing difficulty in getting them passed.   Even then the only completely new A14 section between Catthorpe and Kettering took 20 years to traverse the planning system.  We'll look at that in a later video.

In Suffolk, most of the A45 required a new alignment, but where the old one was left, such as at Haughley, the result was a road that was not up to standard as road use increased.   To the west of Cambridge it was even worse and the congestion problems are still not resolved.   In the desire to save money, some major junctions were not full interchanges but where at least one or more of the major roads faced a roundabout such as Catthorpe, Brampton Hut, Spittals, Copdock and Seven Hills.  All can be major catch points in peak hours.

The highway was not even given its A14 designation until 1994 when the road was completed.   Two number A roads are usually designated as major regional roads so it made sense to remove it from its original road and allocate it to the new one.

The road rapidly became congested in several places, underlining the short-sightedness of the scheme as planned and the A14 remains the only major dual carriageway road from the Midlands into East Anglia.

Sometimes journeys can be unpredictable, particularly during peak hours or if there is an accident. The whole journey experience of the A14 reminded me of life.  Sometimes it's smooth, sometimes it's rough.  We may have to detour off to avoid jams.  Whatever the nature of the journey, we get to a destination.  Start in the Midlands and keep driving and we arrive in Felixstowe, our destination; we can't get any further.    In life we all have a single destination and that's death.  I know that sounds morbid but it's the reality of life.   Are we ready for the destination of life?  We can be and that's through trusting and following Jesus Christ.

Mark Reid