Beds, Herts & Bucks

A5-M1 link road gets cash boost from developers

Construction of the A5-M1 link road in Bedfordshire could be brought forward following a £50m cash injection.

The Department for Transport has now agreed to restart the public inquiry for the road, which was suspended due to restrictions on government spending.

The developers have contributed £45m to the costs and £5m has been pledged by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Construction could now start in 2014 instead of after 2015.

Improve journeys

The planned new 2.9-mile dual carriageway will run east from the A5 north of Dunstable to the M1 at a new junction (J11a).

The scheme is intended to improve journey times by removing the need for long distance traffic to travel on the A5 through Dunstable.

The £45m investment from developers Lands Improvement Holdings and Friends Life Company, combined with the council's previous commitment to allocate money from Growth Area Funding, reduces the level of government investment needed.

Roads minister Mike Penning said: "I have said that private investment can help progress transport projects and the £50m contribution to the costs of the A5-M1 link road is an example of this.

"The third party funding significantly improves the return on public investment for this scheme and I am pleased to announce that the public inquiry, which was suspended last year, can be re-started."

The inquiry is expected to be held early in 2012.

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