Work to commence on final part of A421 upgrade in Central Bedfordshire
14 August 2018
We're to commence preparatory site work on the A421 from the first week of September, ahead of dualling the remaining section of road running from Magna Park in Milton Keynes to the roundabouts in Central Bedfordshire adjacent to junction 13 of the M1. We'll be leading the project, working with Milton Keynes Council, to deliver the upgraded section which is 3km long and used by almost 30,000 vehicles a day. The majority of this stretch falls in Central Bedfordshire.
The initial work is starting after the Department for Transport announced in March that they had approved £23.5 million worth of funding from SEMLEP's Local Growth Fund for the project. With Milton Keynes Council, we're contributing up to £3 million each towards this £28.5 million project.
As well as easing congestion, the upgraded A421 road will help improve access to planned developments in Central Bedfordshire, such as the 5,000 homes proposed in new villages in the Marston Vale area (in our Local Plan), as well as 40 hectares of employment land. The upgraded road will also help improve access to Ridgmont train station, which is due to be enlarged as part of Network Rail's East-West Rail project.
Councillor Nigel Young, our Executive Member for Regeneration, said: said: "As a council, we have a commitment to investing in infrastructure and providing it ahead of growth. The A421 road project supports our priorities to enhance Central Bedfordshire, and the new road layout will improve east-west transport links.
"The upgraded road will provide future and existing residents with greater opportunities for leisure activities, housing and employment. It will also help take traffic away from local parishes, increase safety, and benefit local businesses as well as commuters. The widened road is anticipated to make a significant contribution to the area, including 2,500 jobs."
The initial preparatory work will run to February, and will involve clearing the site, putting in new boundary fencing, and relocating utilities company pipes and cables. In February 2019, the major work on dualling the road will commence. Next year, the widened carriageway will need two bridges to be extended: the Cranfield Road bridge, plus another footbridge near Hulcote that will safely take pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists over the A421 (via four public rights of way.) The improvement works are anticipated to be complete by the end of 2020.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, our Executive Member for Community Services, said: "We are trying to minimalise disruption to road users as far as possible: Our contractors advise that a 40mph speed limit is needed to protect the safety of their workers from the road traffic, as they prepare the stretch. We’d suggest that businesses and residents factor that into their journey times and use a suitable alternative route if they can. There are weight limits zones in surrounding villages, which will be enforced by the police, so we’d emphasise that lorries should still keep to the main roads for their routes. If at any point we do need to make temporary road closures for extra safety, we will advise the public. In the advent of a closure, there will be details of diversion routes on our website, and updates on social media."