Construction of M1-A6 link road north of Luton set to start in January 2022 as Government confirms £32m funding

'Route will support new homes and jobs, drastically improve accessibility, and make the area more attractive to new business'

Saturday, 16th October 2021, 12:01 am

Central Bedfordshire Council has today learnt that it has been successful in securing £32.7 million in Government funding from the Department for Transport for a new road linking the M1 to the A6.

Construction of the new 2.75-mile route between Junction 11a of the M1 and the A6, will begin in early 2022 and will form a north-western bypass for Luton. The road layout will have a mix of single and dual carriageways with a 50mph speed limit; there will be a junction at the new Rail Freight Interchange at Sundon as well as at proposed new housing developments.

The project will also encourage active travel by including a three-metre-wide foot and cycle path on the south side of the link road.

The M1-A6 route

The project is being led by the council and South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) with support from the Department for Transport.

Not only will the new road connect the east and west of north Luton, opening the area up to economic growth and easing the transport of goods between the M1 and Midlands, it will also support the development of up to 3,600 new homes and around 2,800 new jobs.

The Government says the scheme will reduce congestion for north Luton communities, improving journey times, air quality and road safety.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “Residents in Bedfordshire deserve quicker and easier journeys and I know many have been frustrated by poor east-west connections north of Luton.

“That’s why I’m pleased to be backing the new link road which will support the construction of new homes and jobs, drastically improve accessibility, and make the area more attractive to new business.”

Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, Councillor Richard Wenham said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from the Department for Transport for this key link road, which will deliver improved east west connectivity across Central Bedfordshire and the wider area and facilitate the delivery of up to 3,600 new homes and a Rail Freight Interchange which are important in meeting a wider housing need and strengthening our economic offer.”

Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, Councillor Kevin Collins said: “The funding provides us with a welcome opportunity to improve connectivity between towns in Central Bedfordshire, especially east-west linkages, whilst also easing congestion in the villages and areas north of Luton. It will also facilitate the delivery of growth envisaged in our adopted Local Plan and will provide homes, jobs and necessary supporting infrastructure for Central Bedfordshire and the wider area. ”

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive at SEMLEP added: “This major infrastructure project will facilitate economic growth in Central Bedfordshire and improve East-West connectivity within the South East Midlands and wider Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

“The link road will open up employment land to support new job opportunities and enable new homes to be built for the benefit of local people. It will also help to alleviate congestion locally."

Construction of the road is due to begin in January 2022 and completed by January 2024.

The total cost of the scheme comes to £60.248 million with a contribution of £32.750 million from the Department for Transport. The remaining sum will come from local private developer contributions secured by the council.