The £169 million eagerly anticipated upgrade to the road, which improves journeys between Nottingham and the M1 and East Midlands Airport, has more than doubled its capacity, cutting congestion and providing a major boost to the economy.
The A453, which bears the same number as the total British military losses in Afghanistan, will be formally named Remembrance Way, to honour those who lost their lives.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
As a resident of the East Midlands all my life, I know how important the £169 million upgrade of the A453 is to the region. It will transform journeys and help the local economy grow. This is part of our long-term economic plan to create a more reliable transport system, generate jobs, and link people with family and friends across the country.
I have also been privileged to see such a strong sense of community and pride among the Nottingham residents involved in naming this road, which will be a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said:
It is a real privilege to see such an important scheme open in my first weeks in the job and the first to be completed by Highways England.
This is an extremely important route, and its completion will not only bring safer and quicker journeys for everyone who uses it, but also boost the local, regional and national economy.
This upgrade has received tremendous support from all those who use the A453 regularly and the local community, and we and our contractors Laing O’Rourke thank them for their patience while the work has been taking place.
The idea for the name Remembrance Way was suggested by Lt Colonel (Retired) Dougie Pullen, who served in Afghanistan himself. It was supported and put forward to officials by the family of Warrant Officer Sean Upton, a Nottinghamshire soldier killed by an explosion while on patrol in 2009 in Afghanistan.
Lt Colonel (Retired) Pullen said:
The A453 is a wonderful stretch of road, with a vista which is quite special, and this is such a fitting tribute to our fallen Service personnel.
I hope that families who lost loved ones in Afghanistan and, indeed those who returned from service there with life-changing injuries, will be able to take some comfort from the fact that, by acknowledging their contribution in this way, the nation has honoured not just them but also all those who paid the highest price serving their country around the world.
The upgrade stretches over seven miles, including a one-and-a-half mile urban section through Clifton, and a five-and-a-half mile long rural section between the M1 junction 24 and Mill Hill roundabout.
The main construction work to widen the road began on January 7 2013. The cost of the project includes £20 million provided by Nottinghamshire County Council.
The urban part of the road was opened in June, ahead of schedule, bringing benefits to those using it earlier than expected.
The urban section has been designed with three roundabouts and two sets of traffic lights to manage the flow of traffic through Clifton. It has more than doubled the capacity of the previously existing road and improved access for all users.
There are junctions at West Leake and Parkway to facilitate access to the power station and Parkway railway station park and ride facilities for the new NET 2 tram system. A system of footpaths, cycle ways and bridleways were constructed to safely separate these users from traffic.
Around 800,000 cubic metres of earth was moved during construction and 300,000 square metres of surfacing laid. During the work, archaeologists carried out extensive investigations and uncovered two Iron Age/Roman settlements at Mill Hill and east of Thrumpton.
The project sought to minimise the impact on the surrounding area and to contribute positively to the local environment. Around 130,000 trees and 45,000 bulbs have been planted.
There will still be some roadside activity while finishing work takes place and the site is cleared. This may necessitate some overnight lane closures and temporary speed restrictions in the coming months, with disruption kept to a minimum.
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