£24m inner ring road project ‘still on track’

The new bridge which will take traffic to and from Crawley Green Road over the mainline railway and Luton Dunstable Busway
The new bridge which will take traffic to and from Crawley Green Road over the mainline railway and Luton Dunstable Busway

Work on a new multi-million pound inner ring road in Luton remains on track, the council has confirmed.

The expansive Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme is set to be completed this summer, a year after it was commenced last July.

At the centre of the scheme is a new two-way, single-carriageway link road which runs from the junction of Hucklesby Way and Old Bedford Road, as far as a new signal-controlled junction with Church Street and Hitchin Road.

This section of the route runs between Midland Road and the railway line, and passes under the station multi-storey car park.

The completed inner ring road will then continue into Crescent Road to another signal-controlled junction with Crawley Green Road, and from there the next section is to be dual carriageway as far as St Mary’s roundabout.

The scheme also includes a new bridge, which crosses the mainline railway and Luton Dunstable Busway, and also a shared cycle/pedestrian route.

Both ends of Midland Road have now been permanently closed to traffic, with a new access road serving Midland Road from Gillam Street now open.

Guildford Street will be closed to through-traffic when the new road is opened, while a new one-way system for Guildford Street and Cheapside comes into effect in May.

The scheme is the completion of an inner road project that was started in the 1970s but was abandoned after the completion of the southern section.

In December 2011 Luton Borough Council secured Government funding of £15.85m to progress the scheme, with the balance of £8.15m to come from third party contributions and identified savings on land, design and construction costs.

Colin Chick, corporate director for environment and regeneration, said: “Not only will this scheme provide additional vehicle capacity but traffic modelling shows there will be a significant reduction in congestion that will make the town centre more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It delivers major benefits for Luton’s retail sector and greatly improves prospects for delivery of major regeneration projects including mixed-use developments at Power Court and High Town Village and extensions to The Mall shopping centre.

“It could also further help release much-needed funding for the improvement of Luton station.”