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Mayor Dave Writes - Decongestion Works Will Bring Real Benefits for all Road Users

July 9, 2019 4:37 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Dave Hodgson with river behindIn his July column for the Bedford Borough Bulletin and Kempston Calling, Mayor Dave Hodgson has written about the disruption caused by Network Rail's closure of Bromham Road Bridge. He notes how it's even harder to stomach because of the downgraded rail service Bedford is set to have following the Government's decision to remove it from the intercity rail network.

He also touches on the roadworks happening due to the Council's own decongestion programme, Transporting Bedford 2020, which hase been amended to minimise disruption but has to proceed in order that the grant money won for the works is not lost. He notes the key difference in this case which is that while they will cause disruption in the short term, they will bring demonstrable benefits for local road users.

If you haven't read the July Bulletin/Kampston Calling yet, Mayor Dave's column is as follows:

It is sadly inevitable that Network Rail's closure of Bromham Road Bridge will cause real disruption on our roads. Even worse, unlike with most major infrastructure works, we are not getting an improved service at the end of it all.

In fact, the Government's decisions over the new East Midlands rail franchise mean that we will have a diminished rail service, with Bedford removed from the intercity network.

Yes, the line will be electrified, which in itself will be a good thing. But only to Corby, and under the new franchise Bedford will be served by 'commuter-style' trains between Corby and London while all intercity services to the midlands and beyond will whizz past us. This is despite our growing population, the opportunities for interchanging at Bedford and our historic place in the intercity rail network

People are understandably concerned about the traffic impact. We will monitor it very closely and if we can take action to ease congestion, we will.

I know traffic congestion can have a big effect on people's everyday lives. That's why we're delivering the biggest ever investment in our roads to ease congestion at hotspots around Bedford including Cow Bridge and Ampthill Road on the south side of town and Clapham Road/A6/Manton Lane to the north.

The grant money we won for the Transporting Bedford 2020 project has to be spent by April 2021, and with numerous major works to get traffic moving, we have to crack on with them. The next works beginning under this programme are at Britannia Road, by the hospital, where works will begin in the summer holidays on a range of measures to get traffic moving more freely.

In the case of these schemes, there will inevitably be disruption during the works themselves. However, unlike Network Rail's Bromham Road Bridge replacement, this short term pain will at least result in longer term gain.

Mayor Dave Hodgson