The wait is almost over. Following major works, which have seen a delay of almost three months, the A6 past Wilstead is set to reopen on Monday 9 March.
During the closure, the entire stretch of road has been dug up, the drainage system replaced, and the road rebuilt.
This vital route south of Bedford had begun to collapse and become too dangerous for normal road use. To ensure the long-term future of this road, the decision was taken to invest in completely rebuilding it.
During the rebuild, it became clear that the existing pipe drainage system had not been fit for purpose and the ground had become saturated.
This meant that extra works were needed to strengthen the new road foundations. Over a kilometre of additional pipe was installed, and over 25,000 cubic metres of extra material was dug out and re-laid.
To keep this project moving during what was a very wet winter, the contractor rebuilt the road in small sections, which involved lots of different operations each day. This meant that fewer shifts were lost due to wind and rain, so the project could be completed as quickly as possible.
Works are also being carried out on the stretch of A6 just south of Wilstead to Chapel End Road before the road reopens.
Bedford Borough Council and the contractor are working in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council to minimise disruption to local residents and doing these works while the road is closed. These works will be carried out from 6-9 March, with the road closed 24 hours per day.
Once this main stretch of the A6 is open, there will be a short three-week closure of the Luton Road, Wilstead junction with the A6 to complete the necessary tie-in works.
Alternative bus services will operate during this period. This entire project is set to be complete by the end of March.
Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Highways said, “This has been a big project, rebuilding this major route into the south of the Borough.
“It became clear during the rebuild that the road was in an even worse state than we originally thought so more works were needed. Thanks to the efforts of the contractors and our engineers, this rebuild has continued throughout what has been a very wet winter and this road will be open in a few short weeks.
“This project saw a huge amount of work take place. This was vital for the safety of everyone that uses this road, and I’d like to thank the residents of Wilstead for their cooperation and support during this major rebuild.”