After days of gridlock in and out of Bedford around Clapham Road and the Paula Radcliffe Way roundabouts, the council is adding extra measures to ease up traffic flow caused by the roadworks.
Measures include the introduction of manual control of the lights to help traffic flow and the addition of night-time working to ensure the northbound lanes out of town are open during peak times.
Council officers apologised to motorists for the disruption caused after traffic was reduced to one lane and cars were backed up into Tavistock Street on several occasions, causing gridlock to the surrounding area.
Works began on the ‘Northern Gateway’ in the summer to create more space, improve traffic flow and make roads safer on this congested route into Bedford.
The Borough Council say there has been good progress on the project, with the widening of Clapham Road between the two roundabouts complete, along with the dedicated left-hand turn lane from Clapham Road into Manton Lane.
Access to Sainsbury’s
Work has begun on the central reservation of the dual carriageway between the Clapham Road and Paula Radcliffe roundabouts.
This will introduce a permanent right hand turn into Sainsbury’s, meaning cars won’t need to use the Clapham Road/Manton Lane roundabout to U-turn and so reduce traffic on this busy roundabout.
In a statement, Bedford Borough Council said: “This meant the traffic management measures in place have had to change, to keep the crews safe, which has seen levels of disruption increase.
“The Council closely monitors projects and is introducing new measures to help traffic flow better during this phase of the improvement works.
“The traffic lights are now under manual control during peak periods to help the traffic flow better.”
Northbound lanes open during peak periods
After a feasibility trial, both northbound lanes out of town on the northbound stretch of dual carriageway will be open during peak periods to create more space for traffic.
The northbound offside lane will only be closed during off-peak times and overnight. Both lanes cannot be open throughout as the closed lane needs to be used for lorries entering and leaving the site.
To enable these lanes to be open more, the bulk of the works are being moved to overnight just with works that need daylight or daytime temperatures being carried out during the day, so there can be fewer crews on-site during the day.
Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Highways said: “We are constantly reviewing and trying to find ways to reduce the disruption as we work to deliver these improvements works on a well-known congestion hotspot in Bedford.
“Hopefully motorists and other roads users will see some improvement with overnight works enabling us to open more of the road during busy times, and manual control of the lights so we can help traffic to move as well as possible.
“We apologise for the disruption being caused and thank you all for your patience as we complete this project.”