Beds, Herts & Bucks

M1 junction 10A flyover plan approved

Junction 10A at Kidney Wood
Image caption Luton Council said junction 10A experienced "significant queues and delays"

A £30m plan to improve traffic flow at junction 10A of the M1 in Bedfordshire has been approved by the government.

The roundabout at the end of the Luton South spur road will be replaced by a flyover, to allow uninterrupted movement from the M1 to London Luton airport.

The Department for Transport said relieving traffic congestion created a "sound need" for the scheme.

Luton Council, said the plan was "vital" for business growth.

The council put the flyover proposal to the DfT in June 2012 because it believed the roundabout was the weak link in allowing traffic in and out of Luton after an £800m spend on widening the M1.

It said the junction experienced "significant queues and delays, particularly at peak travel times" and worked with the Highways Agency, Central Bedfordshire Council and designer URS on a solution.

Improved access

As well as removing the Kidney Wood roundabout, the plans also include the widening of the spur road and the A1081 Airport Way.

New slip roads and roundabouts will allow access for traffic heading for Luton town centre or Harpenden.

Nearly £25m of funding will be provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' Regional Growth Fund.

Granting the order for the scheme to go ahead, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the improved accessibility would "promote economic growth, relieve congestion and ensure the vitality of Luton town centre".

The order will also allow the council to acquire designated green belt land for the scheme.

However, the department said because the scheme must be located at and around the existing junction which lies in the green belt, it would "not be inappropriate development".

Luton Borough councillor Sian Timoney said the new junction was "vital to securing jobs and business growth" in the town.

"It will not only significantly improve safety and reliability of journey times for motorists and business transport but will also crucially unlock development of several key regeneration sites," she said.

Luton Borough Council said preliminary work could begin within three weeks with major construction to get under way early next year.

It said the new road could be open by summer 2015.

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