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16 March 2015, 06:50
A government road scheme designed to unlock growth and boost the economy while making journeys more reliable for drivers started construction today in Bedford.
This £162.1 million investment in the A5-M1 Link Road Dunstable Northern Bypass will improve the east-west connection between the A5 and M1. A new 2.8 mile two-lane dual carriageway and three new junctions will be built – improving journeys for long distance traffic currently travelling through Dunstable. This traffic will be able to use the A5-M1 link road as an alternative route to travelling through the town.
Once completed in spring 2017, this Highways Agency project will also relieve congestion and improve safety on the A5.
The A5-M1 Link is part of the government’s long-term economic plan which is seeing £24bn of investment during this parliament and the next.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who attended today’s official start of work ceremony, said: “Infrastructure is a vital part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for the people of Bedfordshire. The A5-M1 Link road is a great example of how we’re delivering projects that will boost growth across the country.
“Businesses and motorists will benefit from our investment and the extra capacity it brings.”
The Highways Agency will build the new dual carriageway to the north of Dunstable, between the A5 (at Thorn Turn, just north of its existing junction with the A505) and the M1 at a new junction 11A (to the south of the existing Toddington Services). Three new junctions will be constructed: a roundabout with the A5 at the western end of the link road; a second roundabout will be at the intersection with the A5120 Bedford Road; and a new interchange with the M1 motorway which will be named as junction 11A at the eastern end of the link road.
The scheme also includes an over bridge on Sundon Road, B579 Luton Road and the construction of four bridges passing over the A5-M1 Link.
Highways Agency senior project manager, Paul Unwin, said: “The new A5-M1 Link aims to increase accessibility between the north-south strategic routes, reducing the level of traffic using the A5 and providing relief to communities within Houghton Regis, improving journey time reliability for longer distance traffic.
“We have worked hard with our contractor and people affected by the work to plan the scheme carefully to minimise disruption.
“We’ve already done some preparation for main construction. The first phase of work will include the construction of the new B579 Luton Road east and west, temporary link roads and Sundon Road bridge.”
Central Bedfordshire Council has contributed £5 million towards the cost, with a further £45 million contribution commitment from a developer.
Marcel Coiffait, Director of Community Services, Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Central Bedfordshire Council contributed towards the cost of the A5-M1 Link, recognising its importance as part of a national route. This new link road and our proposed connecting Woodside Link are good news for Central Bedfordshire. They will open up the opportunity for new housing and business developments, attract inward investment, create jobs, and take away traffic from town centres.”