Works to start on major £1 billion transformation of Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet route

New dual carriageway to reduce congestion and improve journey times between Milton Keynes and Cambridge

  • new 10-mile dual carriageway will transform journeys between Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge
  • £1 billion government investment to help grow the economy across the region
  • funding will back drivers by reducing congestion by up to an hour and a half every week

Upgrades to the iconic Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet route on the A428 started today (12 December 2023) following £1 billion of government investment to reduce congestion and improve journey times, boosting economic growth across the region.  

The £1 billion transformation will create a new 10-mile dual carriageway and numerous junction improvements, transforming journeys between the A1 Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire and A428 Caxton Gibbet roundabout in Cambridgeshire. Walkers, cyclists and horse riders will also enjoy better footpaths and safer crossing points.   

The scheme will help grow the economy across the region and ensure that jobs in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and everywhere in between are far more accessible. 

Once complete, journeys at peak times are expected to be cut by a third, saving businesses and road users an average of an hour and a half over a working week.  

In a significant milestone for the project, Transport Minister, Anthony Browne, broke ground on the project today to mark the main start of construction.  

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:  

"I’m delighted we have marked the start of works on the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet project, a huge investment by the government to grow the economy in the region and reduce congestion for drivers. 

"This government is backing drivers by investing in much-needed road projects like this, using savings from HS2 to resurface roads across the country, and introducing a long-term Plan for Drivers to slam the brakes on anti-car measures."

Nicola Bell, National Highways Executive Director for Major Projects, said:  

"It’s a pleasure to welcome Minister Browne to the site this afternoon for what is a momentous occasion. As we break ground today, we embark on a journey that will transform transport in this region, easing congestion, improving connectivity and fostering economic growth.   

"This project highlights National Highways’ commitment to delivering major projects that make lasting impacts for people, communities and businesses. The start of construction represents a culmination of meticulous planning, collaborative efforts and a steadfast commitment to enhancing the nation’s infrastructure.  

"We are proud to be part of a project that will lay the foundations for a more resilient and connected future."

Plans from National Highways will see the creation of a new 10-mile dual carriageway linking the A1 and A421 Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire to the A428 Caxton Gibbet roundabout in Cambridgeshire. Both existing roundabouts will be upgraded into modern, free-flowing junctions with a new junction added at Cambridge Road, improving access to St Neots and its train station.       

The new dual carriageway will also remove the temptation for drivers to use local roads to avoid delays, removing up to 4,000 vehicles from these routes. The scheme is expected to open to traffic in spring 2027.  

Lee Galloway, A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements Project Director, said:  

"Today marks a pivotal milestone for everyone connected with this much-needed and wanted scheme. To get to this point would not have been possible without the dedication of our team, the support of our partners and stakeholders and the invaluable input from local communities.   

"This project is about connecting communities and leaving a positive legacy in the region. Throughout construction, we are committed to bringing the community on the journey with us, minimising disruption and ensuring that local people and businesses remain an integral part of the process."

Charlotte Horobin, Chief Executive Officer, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

"Fostering the A428 development marks a pivotal stride towards unlocking further economic growth in our community. By enhancing connectivity, we unlock opportunities for local businesses, driving productivity, innovation and prosperity across Cambridgeshire."

Department for Transport
National Highways
The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP
Anthony Browne MP