Two major road projects that are key to the government’s long-term economic plan for Bedfordshire are set to open this time next year.
The £162 million A5-M1 Link scheme between the north of Dunstable and the new M1 junction 11A (pictured) and the £38 million Woodside Link project connecting the new junction with the industrial areas of Houghton Regis and Dunstable are set to be delivered on time and on budget, says Highways England.
The schemes will unlock up to 40 hectares of land for businesses and provide the infrastructure for 7,000 homes to be built to the north of Houghton Regis. They will also provide better access to the M1 and reduce congestion in Dunstable.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “We are determined to deliver better journeys and the infrastructure that will allow the economy to grow in Bedfordshire.
"It is pleasing to see the progress that has been made with the A5-M1 and Woodside link schemes which will lay the ground for new businesses to thrive and homes to be built for hard-working people.”
Highways England is delivering the A5-M1 Link scheme, while Central Bedfordshire Council is responsible for the Woodside Link project.
Highways England project manager Karen Green said: “We have achieved a lot in the A5-M1 Link’s first year of construction and the scheme continues to progress well and on schedule.
"Once opened, we anticipate that both schemes together will provide significant improvements in terms of journey time reliability and safety for long distance and local traffic.”
Cllr Nigel Young, executive member for strategic planning and regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “The Woodside Link is the key piece of the regeneration jigsaw bringing jobs, homes and opportunities to the area. I am pleased to see it is on schedule to open in spring 2017.”
Both projects are taking place in conjunction with the HRN1 urban extension north of Houghton Regis that will create more than 5,000 new jobs and new employemt land next to M1 junction 11A.
Kevin Moriarty, managing director of lead developer Lands Improvement, said: “Collectively the delivery of HRN1, the A5-M1 Link and the Woodside Connection is crucial to the continued growth of Houghton Regis, Dunstable and the wider area. We are delighted to see the progress with these two vital pieces of new infrastructure.
“The improved connectivity that these roads can deliver will promote increased business productivity, skills and economic performance, all of which are needed to support and deliver additional housing growth.”
“This creates a highly sustainable opportunity that will attract new investment into the local area.”
The A5-M1 Link project, a new, 2.8 mile dual carriageway to improve the east-west connection between the A5 and M1, north of Dunstable, will help reduce congestion through Dunstable town centre, offering motorists better journey time reliability and safer journeys.
The project includes the building of a completely new dualled road, three new junctions including a new motorway junction, and six new bridges.
The Woodside Link will connect the industrial areas of Houghton Regis and Dunstable to junction 11A.