Work on A14 will last for at least 18 months

The A14 near Kettering
The A14 near Kettering

Plans to widen the A14 around Kettering will be on display in a special exhibition in the town next weekend.

The Highways Agency has set out a scheme which will see an extra lane in each direction installed between junctions seven and nine.

It is the resurrection of a plan which was originally made public in 2009 before being shelved when the new Government took over at Westminster.

Highways Agency project manager Mike Hall, said the scheme would provide much-needed congestion relief and would help the local economy.

He said he hoped work would get under way in the autumn of 2013 and take about 18 months. Traffic would be disrupted during the work.

It is hoped the slip roads at junctions seven and nine would lead directly into the new lanes, avoiding the need for drivers to queue to get on to the road. The initial stages of the development are expected to be the most disruptive to commuters.

“It will be particularly hard in the first phase as there is no hard shoulder to direct traffic on to,” Mr Hall said.

He also said he hoped the disturbance to people living nearby would be kept as low as possible. As part of the plan, special 2.5m-high fencing will be put up to keep noise levels from the road to a minimum for residents living nearby.

Plans were first put forward in 2009, but Mr Hall said things ground to a halt after the general election, with the changed priorities of the coalition.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said the widening proposals were long overdue and described it as great news for business.

He said: “Northamptonshire, with its central location, is home to many logistics and distribution companies and many more pass through the county every day.

“Improvements in our local road networks will enable these companies to do their jobs more easily and may even draw inward investment to the county as companies from outside the county start to use this road more regularly.”

Bill Roughton, a partner at the Corby-based Grey and Roughton haulage company, said the sooner the work could be done the better.

“It’s always busy, especially at peak times,” he added. “It’s a pity they didn’t do it originally.”

Members of the public have been invited to the exhibition at the Corn Market Hall, from 2pm to 8pm on Friday, November 30, and between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, December 1.