Starting next week, major works will begin on Ampthill Road. Bedford Borough Council said that when these works are completed the changes will reduce congestion and improve road safety.
During these works the road will be widened, creating a second northbound lane between Elstow Road and Britannia Road, and improving provision for vehicles turning right into side roads off Ampthill Road.
This lane will be for buses and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, enabling people to continue benefiting from the bus lane and encouraging the use of electric vehicles as they become more common. As part of this project, air quality monitoring will also be installed.
Another major element will be improvements to traffic signals along the route. New electronic message signs will also be installed to provide journey information to drivers, and average speed cameras will also be installed, to help make this busy road safer.
To minimise disruption as much as possible, the majority of these works will be done with the road kept open, with lane closures and temporary signals in place to keep traffic moving.
There will be two periods where sections of the road will need to be closed overnight for around 2-3 weeks at a time for resurfacing works to be carried out. The road will only be closed overnight, and this work will be done in sections, with the southern end first then the rest of the road later on. These resurfacing works are not expected to take place until the autumn.
With the possible impact of winter weather during the later stages of this project, allowance has been made for these works to be complete early next year.
Cllr Charles Royden, portfolio holder for transport and highways, said:
“As part of the Transporting Bedford project, we are carrying out major improvements works down Bedford High Street, the northern gateway around Clapham Road and now we are set to start works on Ampthill Road.
“We are speaking to major organisations down this road, in particular Bedford Hospital, to ensure we carry out these works with the minimum of disruption and inconvenience.
“Thank you to road users, residents in this area and businesses for their patience as we carry out these major improvement works.”
Judith Barker, director of programmes and governance at SEMLEP said:
“Through the Transporting Bedford project, we’re reducing congestion and enabling greater business productivity in the town by improving town centre traffic movement.
“The work on Ampthill Road development will further improve journey time reliability and safety on the key corridor in and out of Bedford.”
This project is part of Transporting Bedford, a project to tackle congestion hotspots in Bedford, funded by both Bedford Borough Council and £15.5M funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), through the Local Growth Fund and represents the largest ever investment in Bedford’s roads.
It has also helped secure an additional £1.76 million worth of investment from Historic England, backed by SEMLEP and Bedford BID, which will help improve shop fronts and bring unused spaces back into use.