Increased economic activity needs the infrastructure to support it

Mayor Dave Hodgson

The proportion of people in employment in Bedford Borough has increased rapidly in recent years, emphatically outstripping the regional and national growth rates.

But increased economic activity comes with costs, and if we are going to maintain this trend we need to ensure we have the infrastructure to do it.

That’s why I’ve announced plans* for another major congestion-cutting project in Bedford, namely the Prebend Street Relief Road.

The road will divert north-south (and vice-versa) traffic away from the 5-way roundabout at the junction of Midland Road, Prebend Street and Midland Road, linking Prebend Street directly with Ashburnham Road via the Ford End Road Bridge arches.

Not only will it cut queues and get traffic moving, crucially it will divert vehicles away from one of Bedford’s most notorious air quality hotspots, and will also benefit the Midland Road West area by removing unnecessary traffic.

This is all in addition to the congestion-busting Transporting Bedford 2020 project, which represents the biggest ever investment in Bedford’s roads.

This involves improvement works to ease congestion at traffic hotspots across Bedford, including Cow Bridge, Ampthill Road, Britannia Road (Bedford Hospital) and Manton Lane/Clapham Road/A6.

Works to increase capacity and cut queues on Manton Lane begin later this month, for example.

Meanwhile, it’s also crucial for jobs and for people’s everyday quality of life that travel to and from Bedford is as easy as possible.

That’s why I continue to make Bedford Borough’s case on issues such as the works to finally sort out the Black Cat Roundabout and a fully-dualled route to Cambridge, the importance of East-West Rail services via Bedford and the retention of intercity rail services.

Indeed, I raised all of these issues in a meeting in Parliament with MPs in the last couple of weeks, and will continue to stand up for the Borough’s interests on these critical projects.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.

*Editor’s Note: These plans were announced prior to the election period and covered by the Bedford Independent on 26 March 2019.