A421 upgrade

Questions and answers regarding the A421 dualling project

How long will the roadworks take?

We are carrying out initial preparatory work to prepare the site, including moving boundary fences and diverting utility company cables and pipes. This initial preparatory work commenced on 10 September and runs until February 2019. The main construction work commences in March 2019 and lasts until the end of 2020.

Why will the Cranfield Road bridge be closed for so long?

Unfortunately, the construction of the new Cranfield Road bridge will take between 12 and 14 months because we need to extend the bridge whilst still allowing traffic on the A421.

The level of the new road will be 1.5m lower than the existing road level, which means the bridge extension work is difficult. We are working with the contractor to reduce the time that the bridge is closed, if possible.

The A421 will be open throughout the roadworks to avoid inconveniencing motorists, except for short closures. These closures are likely to be during evenings and weekends and signs will be in place to give motorists advance warning.

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What about HGVs?

HGVs must stick to the diversion routes or use the existing road when open. Police will be enforcing the existing weight limits in the surrounding villages.

Why wasn't this upgrade done at the same time as the MK dualling?

The two projects were funded separately by the Department for Transport and the respective councils.

Why are these roadworks being carried out at the same time at the M1 Smart Motorways roadworks?

The A421 project is predominantly funded by the Department for Transport and this funding must be spent by 2020. The A421 project will take two years to construct. We therefore had to start work in summer 2018 in order to secure the funding and make sure this road is improved as planned.

Highways England, who are overseeing the M1 roadworks, is under similar pressure to deliver their project on time and to spend the government funding they’ve been allocated.

We are working closely with Highways England to ensure, wherever possible, that the two sets of roadworks do not excessively increase travel times. We will not plan to close this stretch of the A421 unless the M1 is open.