Highways England uses Minecraft to inspire next generation of engineers

Pupils at Castle Newnham Primary School explore Minecraft simulation

Created using more than two billion blocks, Highways England’s plans for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme have been created in a Minecraft world. It’s the first time a major road improvement scheme has been built in Minecraft, and pupils at Castle Newnham Primary School were among the first to explore the scheme in game as Highways England put on a morning of taster sessions.

The Minecraft world is taking place alongside a public consultation on updated plans put on show for the A428 scheme between Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Drivers could save up to an hour and a half on their journeys every week using the new 10-mile dual carriageway linking the Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire to the Caxton Gibbet roundabout in Cambridgeshire. Both roundabouts would also be upgraded into modern, free-flowing junctions and a new junction would be added at Cambridge Road near St Neots.

The project would replace the only remaining section of single carriageway between Milton Keynes and Cambridge, tackling one of the region’s most notorious congestion hotspots.

Highways England A428 programme lead Lee Galloway said:

This is the first time a major road improvement scheme has been created using blocks in Minecraft, and we’re excited that local Minecraft experts have had a chance to thoroughly explore plans in the game, visiting sites such as the three-tier Black Cat junction and the new 10-mile duel carriageway.

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.

Pupils using A428 Minecraft simulation

The map was created by Blockbuilders C.I.C, an expert company at engaging young people in planning, the environment and local history using Minecraft. It took them three weeks to build using a massive 2,393,814,525 blocks. For any brave explorers looking to run the entire length of the scheme in game, it will take one and a quarter hours.

Co-Director at Blockbuilders C.I.C 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 is open to all Minecraft users. For a taste of what the Minecraft world looks like, watch our YouTube fly-through video.

Highways England’s is encouraging as many people as possible to share their views on the updated plans for the A428 scheme as a part of their ongoing eight-week public consultation.
People can respond to the consultation at the A428 consultation page.

The consultation closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 28 July 2019.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

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