The first stretch of a newly-improved vital road link in the East Midlands will open to traffic ahead of schedule.
The last cones are due to be lifted from the majority of the urban section of the A453, the road which links Nottingham to the M1 and East Midlands Airport, in time for tomorrow (June 11) morning’s rush hour.
Highways England will open the urban section between Crusader roundabout and Farnborough Road overnight (Wednesday into Thursday), so motorists can experience some of the benefits before the entire scheme is opened later this month.
The opening of this stretch will be followed in the coming weeks by the opening of the longer rural stretch of the road linking Mill Hill to junction 24 of the M1.
The scheme has cost a total of £169 million, which includes £20 million from Nottinghamshire County Council.
The urban area has been widened from a single lane to two lanes in each direction, more than doubling capacity, and has a permanent speed limit of 40 mph.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:
As part of our long-term economic plan we’re committed to the biggest investment in roads in a generation.
It’s vital we use our transport infrastructure to create jobs and make it easier for people to see their family and friends. The £1.8 billion we are investing in the Midlands will ease congestion and improve journeys across the region.
Highways England senior project manager Jonathan Pizzey said:
It’s great that we’re able to open this section of this extremely important route so early in the summer season and ahead of our original schedule.
Traffic management will be lifted from the road overnight, with the last of it due to be removed in the early hours of tomorrow (Thurs 11 June).
We hope that all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, will benefit from the changes in the urban section, experiencing shorter journey times and a safer environment to travel in.
Everyone involved in this scheme has worked extremely hard to get it finished so that vehicles could start using the road as soon as possible, and they should be rightly proud of this achievement.
The success of the construction and its early opening is down to the efforts of contractors Laing O’Rourke to complete the project, and the close working relationship enjoyed by the entire team.
While traffic can now use all four lanes of the road, we want to remind everyone that there is a 40mph speed limit in place on this stretch. Drivers are reminded to drive considerately as road users get used to the new layout.
Contractors will remain at the roadside for some time to complete finishing works, including removing materials and tidying up after the project. There may be a need for some overnight lane closures in order to complete this work, but disruption will be kept to a minimum and closures will be advertised in the usual way.
The completed scheme will reduce congestion and remove accident blackspots, improve journey time reliability and provide a safer environment for all its users. It will also bring significant benefits to local users, businesses and the economy, and make future maintenance of the road easier.
The newly-opened urban section has been designed with three roundabouts and two sets of traffic lights to manage the flow of traffic in the urban section through Clifton. It has more than doubled the capacity of the previously existing road and improved access for all users.
The whole project, which is now in its final stages, has also involved turning the five-and-a-half mile rural stretch from the M1 junction 24 to the new Clifton Mill Hill Roundabout into a dual carriageway with two grade separated junctions. The main construction work began on January 7 2013.
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