Transporting Bedford

October 17, 2021 8:00 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Transporting Bedford articleMayor Dave Hodgson has written about the Transporting Bedford in this month's Column for the Times and Citizen.

You can read the article below:

Transporting Bedford

Most people are aware of the Transporting Bedford programme, but many do not know the background of what we are trying to achieve.

Transporting Bedford is a £24 million project to tackle congestion hotspots in Bedford Borough and is the largest ever investment in Bedford Borough's roads.

It is funded by Bedford Borough Council, The Department for Transport's National Productivity Fund and £15.5 million from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), through the Local Growth Fund.

The project has been running since 2018 with the aim of tackling those key congestion hotspots which by their nature are well-used routes through our town.

Understanding how traffic moves in and around Bedford town centre is critical to being able to improve the situation for all road users. To help inform decision making and take advantage of funding opportunities, the Council commissioned an in depth study of traffic in the town centre in 2014. This included a survey of traffic and car park use, and also the development of a traffic model which helps to test options for new or reassigned roads.

The Bedford Town Centre Strategy study provided us with a baseline to make a bid to the Department for Transport for Local Growth Funding (Round 2).

In 2016, Bedford Borough Council was successful in bidding for Local Growth Funding (round 3) funds, securing £4.5 million of funds for the Southern Gateway project which involves technology and junction improvements along the Ampthill Road.

The Borough reviewed the totality of the funding and developed a business case for a combined project worth £18.4 million with three main objectives:

  • Enhance the permeability of the core town centre, creating better connections between the retail quarter, the cultural quarter, and the River Great Ouse
  • Enhance the management of traffic movements into and across the town to improve journey time reliability
  • To significantly improve the Urban Traffic Management Control Technology provision across the core urban area by introducing smart technology that informs travel behaviour and reacts to transport conditions, and provides travellers with real-time information about traffic and travel conditions to allow them to make informed decisions about travel behaviour

The intention is to deliver a range of public realm, junction improvement, SMART traffic control and traffic signal technology on key routes, junctions and within the town centre. The remaining funds are from the Borough's own contribution.

So far we have seen improvements on Manton Lane, including the return of the footbridge that was removed by the County Council. The works on Britannia Road have been completed and are underway on Ampthill Road and the High Street.

There are works on the Northern gateway to Bedford, a well-known congestion hotspot. Sadly Anglian Water have had to carry out essential mains strengthening works on Oakley Road in Bromham which has impacted on the congestion on the A6/Clapham Road works. The Council has asked Anglian Water to extend their hours and work at weekends to reduce the amount of time they are on site.

You can read more about how Transporting Bedford is tackling congestion hotspots in Bedford Borough at https://www.bedford.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/strategies-and-projects/transporting-bedford-2020/.