Government's ‘East-West Champion’ visits A421 construction site to see progress on upgrading the road between the M1 and Milton Keynes
7 June 2019
On Friday 7 June, local MP Iain Stewart visited the A421 site to take a look at the progress that we've made with our contractors on the latest leg of a project to upgrade a key section of the road into dual carriageway.
We've been working with Milton Keynes Council to upgrade 3km of road to improve links between Junction 13 of the M1 motorway in Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. We're leading on the last stretch of the project. Around 30,000 vehicles a day use the A421 road. The improvements have been supported with £23.5 million investment from SEMLEP through their Local Growth Fund, as well as £3 million from each council.
As well as being the MP for Milton Keynes South, Mr Stewart is also the government's ‘East-West Champion’ for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc (link opens in new window) and so has a particular interest in the venture, as the A421 forms a key section of this strategic corridor and helps underpin the proposed future Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.
Key representatives from both councils, from the contractors Morgan Sindall and from the funders, SEMLEP, met with the MP today.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, our Executive Member for Community Services, said: "The proposed Expressway road route will help to create opportunities both here and for the wider area to become the UK’s Silicon Valley, delivering growth in science, technology and innovation. So, as a council, we’re delighted to be investing in critical infrastructure and upgrading this road, to help ensure that our residents and businesses are fully able to benefit from the current and future opportunities that our area has to offer."
Councillor Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Public Realm at Milton Keynes Council, said: "We’ve been working closely with Central Bedfordshire Council to deliver improvements to the A421 – a key route in and out of Milton Keynes for residents, businesses and visitors. Milton Keynes is at the heart of the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc and, as our city continues to expand, it’s important that we have the correct infrastructure in place to support that growth."
Mr Stewart took a tour of the site and watched a fascinating time-lapse video of the demolition of Cranfield Road bridge, which took place the previous weekend (31 May to 3 June). The bridge demolition work went so well that the road reopened to the public at 1:30am on Monday morning, several hours ahead of schedule.
The Cranfield Road bridge is now closed for up to 12 months whilst a longer replacement road bridge is constructed that will span the wider A421. We're working with our contractor to shorten this period if possible, to reduce the impact on residents in local villages who are affected by the diversion.
There are no safe routes for pedestrians across the A421 currently, so a new footbridge will be constructed towards Hulcote which will greatly improve accesss for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, who will also be able to enjoy four extended public rights of way. There will also be a new cycleway and a 3-metre wide footway along the southern side of the future dual carriageway, leading to the new footbridge.
The new dual carriageway is expected to be ready by the end of 2020.