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A14 diversion and HGVs on Histon Road, Cambridge

Meeting: 07/03/2019 - North Area Committee (Item 6)

A14 diversion and HGVs on Histon Road, Cambridge

Representatives from the A14 Management Team, Highways and Traffic Management Officer to be in attendance.


The Committee received a presentation from the Stakeholder Director (A14 Integrated Delivery Team) Highways England representative (A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme)


The presentation outlined:

  i.  Good progress had been made on the project last summer and this winter so some of the roads may be able to be opened early.

  ii.  While the work was being undertaken there did have to be road closures and some overnight road closures but there was no other way to undertake the work, diversion routes had been put in place.

  iii.  Referred to diversion route; strategic traffic had to be diverted via a certain route.

  iv.  Noted that not all vehicles followed diversion signs / routes and they could end up following their satnav, unfortunately drivers did have a choice about what route they wanted to drive even though a strategic traffic diversion route had been put in place and despite conversations with the haulage industry.


Members of the public asked a number of questions, as set out below.


1.  What action would be taken to mitigate the damage to houses caused by vibrations from lorries driving down Histon Road.


Other residents in the county had also been affected by diversion routes, he understood resident’s frustrations but they were not alone. A lot of work had been undertaken with haulage companies to try and keep strategic traffic on the strategic diversion routes. They were also working with the police, who had monitored the situation and helped but due to their resources this could not be done all the time.


2.  Requested that North Area Committee recommended that GCP in cooperation with Highways directed officers in their planning for Histon Road to investigate and include a Geo-Fencing system in the final design.


Commented that the Geo-fencing technology had some merit but that it would be difficult to compel haulage companies to use. Everyone had a right to drive where they wanted provided that they followed road regulations.


3.  A resident had to pad walls to stop their mirror shaking, the noise created by vehicles was horrendous. Had seen an Eddie Stobart lorry driving along Histon Road. Questioned whether diversion signs were turned down during the day.


Across the road network there were hundreds of signs out for directional reasons or diversions. Signs were only turned down at trigger points (ie: at the beginning and end of diversion routes). Asked for the resident to let them know where the issues were so that she could speak with the Traffic Team and target the areas that were causing day time confusion.


4.  Asked whether a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) had been considered or put in place.


There had been various road closures across the scheme, feedback suggested that Highways England could try to do something different. This was the only Highways England project that had a social media account. Wanted to assure residents that they were not ignoring them. Putting a weight restriction on a road was something that had been discussed with the County Council and the Police however the Police did not have the resources to be able to enforce the weight restriction. Highways England’s obligation was to use the roads most suitable to take traffic at night, they did not like using roads like the one in Kings Hedges and a physical closure had been considered. If a weight restriction was put on the road this would move the issue somewhere else.


5.  Commented did not like the assertion that drivers would contravene traffic regulations.


6.  Had spoken with a resident who lived 1 mile away from King Hedges and they could hear the noise created by the HGVs driving down Histon Road.


7.  Commented that they had been impressed with the traffic flow on A14 however said they did have an issue if someone was diverted on a 10 mile diversion it added to the drive time and drivers may have to stop because they run out of time and this might be why drivers cut through small roads but said that this was an issue with haulage companies. 


Highways England sent out notifications to the haulage industry when they were maintaining and building roads, and they passed this message on to their members. It was up to the haulage industry to deal with, but Highways England tried to keep them informed about diversions as much as they could do.


Had also spoken with freight transport and haulage companies to see whether there was anything else they could use to try and get messages to HGVs. Road haulage companies had developed an app which was accessible to European counterparts.  A number of drivers were owner-drivers it would be money out of their own pocket if they had to follow a diversion route, this may be why some HGVs did not follow diversion signage.


The Committee discussed the following issues:

  i.  Commented that there were weight restrictions on Gilbert Road and asked whether Highways England had any powers to take action or could they put in width restrictions.


Highways England had limited powers; they had a traffic officer service which managed traffic incidents until the police arrived.


  ii.  Lived on Victoria Road there was a TRO in place which was unenforced because the police did not have capacity to enforce it. Once HGVs were on Victoria Road it was too late for them to be able to turn around. Her property shakes when HGVs drive down the road. Questioned whse responsibility it was when damage was caused to properties.


With weight restrictions on roads unless there was a physical police presence it was difficult to enforce. 


  iii.  Asked which organisation had responsibilities for drivers on the roads.


The public highway was policed by Traffic Police Officers. As to whether drivers will follow particular routes this was dependent on the company and on the goods being delivered as to what routes may be chosen. He did not know whether hauliers advised their drivers which routes to use.