New A421 officially opens
A new stretch of road - which will cut the amount of time drivers need to spend travelling - has been officially opened today (Wednesday).
The new A421 dual carriageway will reduce people's travel time between Junction 13 of the M1 and Bedford by around ten minutes.
The project started in 2003 with on-site work getting underway in October 2008.
By opening the road today, it means the project has been completed a month ahead of schedule and - with a final cost of around £200 million - it's also under budget.
Roy Brunsden - the Project Manager for the scheme - told Heart:
"This road was needed due to severe congestion and due to a large number of accidents on the road. We had seven fatalities in the couple of years before we opened it. The road has been needed for many a year."
And Mr Brunsden added that it won't just be passing commuters and visitors who benefit from the new road, but people living near-by too:
"It'll be quieter for them. It'll be easier for them to use the existing road. They will be able to move round their communities with ease. There'll be more footpaths for them to use, more bridleways. We've looked after as many people as we can."
While building the road, engineers have tried to keep things as green as possible. Old tyres have been used to build an embankment next to Brogborough Lake and over the next year 210,000 trees will be planted, to cover around 240 acres of new woodland and grass.
Dave Hodgson - the Mayor of Bedford - told Heart the new carriageway will help the local economy too:
"It's absolutely good news for business. We've already got interest. Businesses want to be located by the side of this so they've got very quick access to the A1 and the M1 as well as in to the town centre of Bedford, where they can get trains directly in to London. We've got businesses already interested in the Innovation Park and I think a lot more will be coming here."