In an effort to reduce congestion at the Prebend Street/Midland Road roundabout, Bedford Borough Council has submitted a bid for £15m of government funding to create a new relief road.
The new relief road would link the bottom of Ashburnham Road with Commercial Road West, reducing the number of cars queuing along Prebend Street and Midland Road, particularly at rush hour, while also helping to improve air quality in the area. The proposal has been developed in partnership with Homes England.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said “The Prebend Street Relief Road will be a key measure in cutting congestion. The relief road will improve the day-to-day experience of those who travel through Bedford and reduce the burden on the 5-way roundabout with Midland Road and Ford End Road. It will also bring benefits for Prebend Street and Midland Road with reduced traffic and improved air quality for local residents.”
Richard Pill, Bedford area representative for English Regional Transport Association said: “The claim this will reduce congestion is spurious, at best it will shift it. It is well known more capacity attracts more traffic.
“It would use railway arches and land to get to and from the Commercial Road Junction and unless demolition will happen creating a large roundabout, could be a problem for buses, large lorries and other long vehicles turning into Prebend Street.
“Again the Mayor puts a hard sell gloss on it, but it won’t cut congestion overall. The Borough consigns East-West Rail to existing rail layouts rather than station remodelling and designs, which will restrict access and adds to less than optimum rail access to Bedford, which could provide more alternatives.
“It strikes me as strange that Mayor Dave can find £10 million capital funds towards a Wixams Station and now this road scheme, but cannot do the same for a station on the Bedford-Bletchley line to give access to the Retail Park, which studies have shown would boost and be a ‘win win’ for all?”