Highways England uses Minecraft to create plans for A428 road scheme

Highways England taps into Minecraft game for the A428 road schemeImage: Highways England taps into Minecraft game for the A428 road scheme. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.

Highways England said that it has used the popular sandbox block-building video game Minecraft to create plans for the Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme.

The department revealed that the plans for the road improvement scheme were created using more than two billion blocks. The map for the road improvement scheme was created by Blockbuilders, a not-for-profit organisation that involves young people in the real world by modelling it using the Minecraft game.

According to Highways England, it took three weeks for Blockbuilders C.I.C. to build the blocks for the scheme. The agency said that it will take 75 minutes for any brave explorers who want to try running the entire length of the road scheme in a game.

Blockbuilders C.I.C. co-director Megan Leckie said: “For us it is so important to be engaging young people in these schemes as they are focused on the future. The local young people will be the ones living with the changes for the longest period, so it’s vital they be included.”

The A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme server can be accessed by all Minecraft users, said Highways England.

Currently, the agency is letting school students explore the scheme in Minecraft game and alongside that, it is undertaking a public consultation on updated plans on the A428 scheme between Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Highways England claims that drivers can save up to 90 minutes every week on their journeys by travelling along the new 10-mile dual carriageway that connects the Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire to the Caxton Gibbet roundabout in Cambridgeshire. The agency said that the two roundabouts will also be upgraded into modern, free-flowing junctions, while a new junction will be added at Cambridge Road near St Neots.

Highways England A428 programme lead Lee Galloway said: “The current A428 carries twice the traffic it was designed for and cuts through small communities and villages. Our plans will make a real difference, improving people’s journeys for decades to come and provided economic benefits across the region.

“By using Minecraft in this public consultation, we hope to engage a new younger audience to see the roads that will shape their region for years to come, and hopefully inspire the next generation of engineers to build them.”