Open letter to Chris Griffin, A14 Project Manager

Histon 1 (1)We’ve had our complaints about the way that the management of the A14 upgrade has impacted the residents of Histon & Impington and Orchard Park and maybe this weekend’s inconvenience isn’t the worst but it epitomises the way that the project is apparently being driven forward with limited attention being given to its impact on local people. The arrogance of shutting a road which is not theirs to shut, the oversight of not informing Stagecoach and the inconsistency and unreliability of the information being communicated speak of an organisation single mindedly focused on its own business with no regard for its obligations towards others.

I thought I might write a letter to the man in charge. He’s not a bad guy but he’s let me down and perhaps he’s being let down by his organisation.

Here goes.

Chris Griffin
A14 Project Manager at Highways England

Dear Chris

Thank you for your call on Friday morning to give me an update on plans for the closure of the B1049 roundabout at its junction with the A14 in Impington. You told me that it would close to southbound traffic, that the eastbound slip roads would also close but that the junction would remain open to pedestrians and cyclists. Coincidentally I met a Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) Highways Officer shortly afterwards who confirmed what you’d told me.

Unfortunately it seems that your plans changed during the day and by late afternoon your people were telling CCC that the roundabout would close completely for all users (the westbound slip roads would remain open).

I understand that it’s difficult running a project as large and complex as the A14 upgrade and that you sometimes do have to take decisions at short notice. People will show some understanding but only if they know what’s going on and why. Too often your team just pushes on and does stuff without telling either its partners or the public what it’s doing and why. It’s disappointing that you behave this way, it’s seems like you don’t see the need to respect others because you’ve got your job to do and nothing else is important.

Friday was a case in point. Your team simply decided to close the roundabout completely without any sort of prior consultation with CCC and it’s a key partners in this because the B1049 is its road. You should not be taking apparently arbitrary decisions to close it.

At the same time you did not update the information which you had provided earlier. People like me are one of your links to the general public. We may not chose to defend you but at least we can explain what’s going on and why.

Furthermore it seems that your people didn’t bother to inform Stagecoach of the planned closure. I understand that it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that they were in contact with them. That really is not good enough.

Chris: relations between the A14 Integrated Deliver Team got off to a bad start with the outrageous tree felling of early 2018. Many people including yourself have done their best to improve matters since. But then it’s events like Friday which make it easy to see that as just tokenism which gets ignored when you just want to get on and do something.

Please. Lines of communication are always open. Please use them.

Yours sincerely

David Jenkins
County Councillor, Histon & impington including Orchard Park

One comment

  1. Well put. Cottenham residents, a bit further up the B1049, rarely get to know what is happening until an early riser has pioneered the route each day and reported back via Facebook. Even when info is posted, it is often gobbledegook with few diagrams. Their urgency costs our residents time, money and patience, especially when many would have different priorities.


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