Press release

£200m roadbuilding investment on course to deliver Central Bedfordshire economic boost

Roadbuilding schemes worth £200million which will unlock economic growth by connecting new businesses and up to 7,000 new homes, are on course to be delivered on time and on budget.

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smart motorway

The 2 linked projects, which are a key part of the government’s long term economic plan for Bedfordshire, are passing their one year milestone this spring and will be completed in spring 2017.

The 2.8 mile, £162million A5-M1 Link scheme is being delivered by Highways England, while the £38million, 1.8 mile Woodside Link project is being completed by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Aerial view of ongoing construction

Delivering 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.

Constructions milestones achieved so far on the A5-M1 link include starting work on the layout for the new M1 junction 11A, with new roundabouts and bridges, as well as the rebuilding of the B579 Luton Road East and West to align it with junction 11A. Work on the link road itself has progressed well too, with drainage, fencing and some of the foundations and surfacing completed so far. And work on the new A5 roundabout has started too.

Woodside Link milestones so far include the completion of major earthworks, the construction of 2 bridges, the installation of drainage and a retaining wall, and the cutting of ‘road boxes’ prior to surfacing.

Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:

We are determined to deliver better journeys and the infrastructure that will allow the economy to grow in Bedfordshire.

We are investing £15 billion nationally to improve our roads, and this project is an important part of that.

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 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.

We continue to work closely with Central Bedfordshire Council to ensure both projects progress alongside and to minimise disruption to users.

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. Local communities will also see pressure easing on their local roads as more traffic will be using the new routes.

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’m pleased to see it is on schedule to open in spring 2017.

Kevin Moriarty, Managing Director of 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.

The HRN1 development is contributing a total of £45 million to help deliver the A5-M1 Link Road, along with land for the Woodside Connection and we are delighted to see the progress with these 2 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.

In addition to new houses and associated services, HRN1 will deliver over 5,000 new jobs, bring 130,500m2 gross of employment land including new office space and the opportunity for business start-ups next to the new junction 11a. Along with the ancillary services provided onsite 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 £162.1m, award winning project includes the building of a completely new dualled road, 3 new junctions including a new motorway junction, and 6 new bridges.

The £38.3m Woodside Link project will connect the industrial areas of Houghton Regis and Dunstable to a new M1 junction 11a. It is already attracting new businesses to the area. When open the 1.8 mile road will also reduce congestion on local roads and improve air quality.

For the latest information and to register for updates about the A5-M1 Link scheme, visit the scheme website or call the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. You can also watch a video simulation of the scheme on our YouTube channel.

For the latest information and to register for updates about the Woodside Link scheme, visit the Central Bedfordshire Council page

For more information about the Houghton Regis Development Consortium visit the Houghton Regis website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 3 March 2016