Woodside Link road moves transformation of towns one step nearer
Central Bedfordshire Council’s new Woodside Link road will open today (Thursday 13 April 2017), moving the transformation of Dunstable and Houghton Regis even closer.
See the BBC and Central Bedfordshire Council drive through video here.
Woodside Link is the first to open amongst a number of new inter-related roads coming to that area. These include Parkside Drive (which is scheduled to open on 5 May 2017), and Highways England’s A5-M1 Link and their junction 11a of the M1 which will be open soon. The Woodside Link road will ultimately connect Houghton Regis and the Dunstable industrial estates to the forthcoming M1 junction 11a.
Since construction of the roads started, more than 50 new deals have been completed for industrial and distribution units across Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard, creating nearly 2,500 new jobs. Overall, the investment generated or planned for the area is already worth an estimated £2bn.
The Woodside Link road takes traffic from Sundon Road to Woodside Industrial Estate, removing it from Houghton Regis town centre. Once the new M1 junction 11a is open, then Woodside Link traffic will also have access to the motorway. After that, the existing A5 road will start to be ‘de-trunked’, with a 7.5 tonne weight limit put in place to take heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) away from the centres of Houghton Regis and Dunstable. This will help ease local congestion and improve air quality for residents. It will also allow the council to start improving Dunstable’s high street as part of a wider regeneration project that will help restore its market town charm.
Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration and Business at Central Bedfordshire Council, said:
“This new road demonstrates our ongoing commitment to future sustainable growth. As a council we’ve worked hard to secure the funding and to complete the road ahead of schedule and on budget. This has been a well-managed, well-delivered project. Once the new motorway junction is open then we can move on to the next phase of our plans to regenerate the area.
“Woodside Link is a key piece of road infrastructure that meets the council’s priorities of creating jobs, managing housing growth, and enabling businesses to thrive. It marks the start of the transformation of both Houghton Regis and Dunstable, and acts as a catalyst for bringing exciting growth to the local region.
“Woodside Link underpins the creation of local employment and retail opportunities, and will bring around 7,000 much needed new homes to Houghton Regis North by 2031. It also unlocks Woodside Industrial Estate’s close proximity to the M1, making it the ideal location for business. And, by taking HGVs out of our town centres and villages, we will reduce noise and congestion and improve air quality for our existing residents.”
The Woodside Link road has been completed ahead of time and on budget. To help pay for the £40 million road, the council successfully secured external funding of over £30m from SEMLEP and developer contributions.
The council will be working with its partners at Highways England to ensure a coordinated approach is in place to connect Woodside Link to their new motorway junction once that is ready. A formal ceremonial opening will be held in later weeks, once all the inter-related roads are completed.