National Highways (formerly Highways England)
2015 - 2020
Knight Architects, Atkins Jacobs JV
A14C2H Delivery Team (Costain, Balfour Beatty, Skanska)
Bridge Awards 2021 (Highly Commended)
Familiar landmarks on a major route
The National Highways A14 improvement scheme between Cambridge and Huntingdon was part of a series of major investments to upgrade critical routes in the UK. Recognising the importance that infrastructure can play in place-making, part of the vision for the scheme was to provide local identity and add value for all user experiences, not just highway users.
The overbridges at Swavesey and Bar Hill were special opportunities, representing both gateways towards Cambridge for the highway user but also key daily landmarks for the local communities. The solutions needed to be cost effective, although this didn’t limit the design team's ambition. As part of a ‘family’ of structures, the striking portal tower form is repeated but adjusted in orientation to address the differing requirements.
Swavesey is predominantly a link between adjacent communities. The distinctive portal form recognises a local gateway. Bar Hill employs the same tower form but rotated by 90 degrees, this time providing a gateway moment for highway users. With a variety of users from walkers to equestrians, a local widening of the bridge deck enables everyone to enjoy the crossing experience and also rest if required. The subtle adjustment of a regular structural form is efficient and, perhaps more importantly, demonstrates how well-considered design can play a successful role in a large infrastructure scheme. It provides seamless continuity between the places it connects.