Greater Cambridge Partnership, responsible for spending City Deal funding from central government and made up of three councils and the university, has plumped for a mass transit link between the city and the Suffolk overspill town of Haverhill.
This follows a period of public consultation on possible options, including on-road and off-road routes.
The favoured option uses part of the old railway line, closed to passengers in 1967. At the Cambridge end, it could join the existing guided busway from the city at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
The initial 5mile route is estimated to cost £130 to £145million, including a new park-&-ride site at its outer end. The remaining 12miles to Haverhill would be on ordinary roads, though more of the old railway could be used in future phases. Stagecoach currently runs a half-hourly Gold route between Haverhill and Cambridge, which is enhanced to four times an hour at peak times, with limited stop services maintaining end-to-end journey times of around 70min.
Further design work will now be undertaken, with a firm route due to be selected some time towards the end of next year.
■ Decisions on a similar scheme between Cambridge and the new town of Cambourne, due in the summer, have been delayed. The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is investigating more radical options, including light metro with city centre tunnels. Although a busway could be in operation sooner, the delay will ensure that plans can be ‘future-proofed to accommodate any new solution or technology as it emerges’.