Road Improvements Planned

Fifty seven road improvement projects are going to be carried out to help cut congestion and boost the economy.

A total of £170m is going to be spent on the projects announced by the Department for Transport.  Their aim is to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on England’s motorways and major A roads.

Many of the improvements will be delivered in 2013 and 2014, and they are scheduled to be completed by March 2015.

Among the improvements will be a widening of Bedfordshire's Black Cat roundabout where the A1 and A421 meet.  There will also be improvements to the Tove Junction at Towcester, Northamptonshire where the A5 and A43 meet, and at Wellingborough's Wilby Way Roundabout.  The hard shoulder on the northbound A1M at Welwyn will be turned into a lane to moving traffic.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These £217 million road improvements prove the Government’s determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.

“Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity. By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy. They also have the potential to help deliver more than 300,000 new jobs and 150,000 new homes."

Here are some of the planned improvements

A45 Wilby Way improvements, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire
Reduce congestion by widening part of the roundabout and approach roads and installing traffic signals.
Supports a number of significant employment and housing sites in the vicinity of the junction with the potential to create 5,600 jobs and 3,000 homes by 2020.
Cost £3.2m. Starts 2013. Ends 2013.

A43/A5 Tove junction improvement, Towcester, Northamptonshire
Reduce congestion by widening the A43 through the junction and installing traffic signals.
Supports proposed identified growth sites at Towcester and Silverstone Circuit. Supports the creation of 3,500 jobs and 1,000 homes by 2020.
Cost £3.1m. Starts 2014. Ends 2104.

A1(M) junction 6 northbound all lane running, Welwyn, Hertfordshire
Reduce congestion by converting the existing hard shoulder to a running lane, including installing a sign gantry spanning both gantries along with variable message signs, CCTV, sensor loops and speed enforcement cameras.
Supports local economic growth in Hatfield Business Park, Gunnels Wood Road, GSK, Stevenage Town Centre Regeneration and Knebworth Innovation Park and the gateway of London Luton Airport. Supports the creation of 9,485 jobs and 3,840 homes by 2020.
Cost £6.2m. Starts 2014. Ends 2014.

A1 Black Cat part-time signals, Chawston, Bedfordshire
Reduce congestion by widening the roundabout and the A1 approach roads.
Supports several local development sites, anticipated to generate 4,450 jobs and 11,655 homes by 2020. The gateways of London Luton Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich will also be supported.
Cost £6.4m. Starts 2014. Ends 2014.

Reaction

Commenting on the planned improvements to Bedfordshire's Black Cat roundabout, The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said: “Relief for motorists and businesses suffering delays at the Black Cat roundabout on a daily basis cannot come a moment too soon, so we’re obviously delighted by the success of this bid.

"A huge opportunity was missed at the time of the junction remodelling when the Great Barford Bypass was completed just a few years ago, but this project we’re supporting is a first step towards the comprehensive solution we all want to see. In the meantime, the expanded junction and other features of this project will at last offer some relief from the daily misery suffered by motorists, and makes the Borough better connected and better placed to attract new investment and jobs.
 
“We consider this to be just the first phase in the fight for an improved Black Cat, and I will continue to work to deliver the comprehensive solution that is needed."

Commenting on the planned improvements to Wellingborough's Wilby Way roundabout, Councillor Tim Allebone, chairman of Wellingborough Council’s development committee, said: “This roundabout can be incredibly frustrating for drivers and we’re really pleased that the Government has recognised the need for changes to be made.

"Improvements were made in 2007 when a left turn lane was opened on the westbound approach, but congestion is still bad eastbound and more needs to be done.

"There are a number of large housing developments planned, including the Stanton Cross development that could see 3,200 homes and 2,600 jobs created, and these developments will obviously affect traffic. Sorting out this roundabout, before traffic gets even heavier, is a priority. With the government funding the issues can now be addressed.”

Councillor Barry Graves, who represents the villages of Wilby and Great Doddington on Wellingborough Council, added: “Congestion on the A45 is so bad that people come off the dual carriageway to try and avoid the jams, which just creates an even worse problem in Wilby and Great Doddington. In the mornings and evenings the traffic in the villages can come to a complete standstill. I’m delighted that not only will the improvement works make the A45 flow more smoothly, it should also hopefully make a big difference to village traffic too.”

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