Bedford Borough Council has announced that they’re about to carry out essential work on a one mile stretch of the A6 from late July until December.
In a statement yesterday, the council described how a stretch of A6 south of Bedford and parallel to the village of Wilstead, will be rebuilt over the summer.
Cllr Charles Royden, portfolio holder for highways and transport said: “The foundations of this stretch of the A6 have collapsed, and this length of road is becoming too dangerous for normal road use.
“This multimillion pound project is a vital piece of work for a key route to the south of our town, and will see the entire road structure rebuilt and made safe for the long-term future.”
This does mean a stretch just over one mile long will be closed for around five months.
Anyone who uses the A6 regularly may well begrudge the closure but will no doubt be thankful the road is finally being repaired.
Motorists will be diverted off the road through Cotton End from the Bedford Road junction in the north and the Luton Road junction in the south.
“As people who regularly use this stretch of the A6 will be aware,” added Cllr Royden (Lib Dem). “This length of road has become too dangerous for normal road use and speed reduction has already been imposed.”
And many motorists agree. Commenting on the We Are Bedford Facebook page, John Marsh said “…it badly needs it…” where as Mark Jackson added “It (sic) great it’s being repaired…”
But while some are pleased, others have criticised the council for the length of the closure and its coincidence with other roadworks around Bedford Borough.
Pam Deverick commented: “Who’s… idea [was it] to do all these repairs and improvements all in the same months in the same year #steerclearofstandstillbedford.”
“Oh dear. Wilstead gonna become a nightmare for 5 months,” added Craig Damon.
While the road is closed, a diversion route will take traffic via the A507 and A600 through Cotton End, this has also caused some concern.
Robyn Stanton-Charles warned: “The official diversion is A600, A507 but obviously locals will just divert through Wilstead.”
And they’re not alone. Cllr Coombes (Con), who represents Wilstead has warned the village will be used as a rat run.
“One major issue of concern to Wilstead residents is to ensure that diversion routes along alternative A-roads are clearly publicised and that Wilstead village is not used as a traffic rat-run.
“Borough highways officers have agreed that speed cameras will be in place in Wilstead throughout the duration of the works, so my advice to drivers who normally use the A6 is ‘do not use Wilstead as a short cut, it will be better for you if you use the designated diversion along the A600’.”
But, Cllr Coombes, added he is pleased the roadworks are taking place: “It is great news that works are due to start imminently on the reconstruction of the A6 Wilstead bypass.
“These much needed works should go a long way to bring the road up to the proper standard for such an important transit route.”
The road itself will be closed from 22 July, with the road expected to be re-opened by early December.
Some footpaths that cross the A6 in the area will also be closed. Footpath 3 near Wilstead is already closed with Footpath 4 closing on 1 July.
For more information on the footpath closures, head to Bedford Borough Council’s website.