12 August 2010

A Northamptonshire County Council project which aims to reduce congestion on a busy commuter route into Northampton will start on Monday, August 16.

The scheme which focuses on the A45, particularly the Barnes Meadow Roundabout, will reduce congestion, develop bus reliability, improve road safety and bring environmental benefits.

Essentially works will reduce the time it takes to make the journey from Wellingborough and Earls Barton into Northampton through a raft of measures, which include:

  • An extra multiple occupancy vehicle lane (more than one person travelling in the vehicle) on the A45 westbound off the slip approaching Barnes Meadow and also on the Barnes Meadow Roundabout.
  • Traffic light improvements on bus routes from Wellingborough and Earls Barton into Northampton town centre to increase journey time reliability.
  • Extra lanes on the Barnes Meadow Roundabout to ease congestion at this busy intersection.
  • New traffic lights on the Rushmere Road entry to the roundabout to improve safety by enhancing junction capacity.

The £5.3 million project has been funded by the government through the Homes and Community Agency. The money is from the Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) which supports transport costs in growth areas.

The Barnes Meadow roundabout, where the A45 and the A428 meet is one of the busiest junctions in the county, seeing around 7,000 vehicles using the interchange during the morning and evening rush-hours.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for transport, minerals and waste, said: “There’s no doubt that this is one of the busiest routes in the county and work needs to be done to improve travelling times.

“I’m confident these measures will reduce congestion, by improving the overall capacity of the intersection, as well as encouraging bus travel and car sharing, which will in turn be of benefit in reducing carbon emissions and improving the local environment.”

Traffic light installations at the following junctions will be upgraded for bus priority working:

  • Wellingborough – Northampton Road/Kingsway/Queensway junction.
  • Earls Barton – A4500/B573 junction.
  • Northampton – Cliftonville Road/Billing Road/Alfred Street junction.
  • Northampton – Wellingborough Road/St Edmund’s Street junction.

The work is due for completion in March 2011. To allow the work to proceed whilst minimising disruption, existing traffic lanes will be narrowed. Work will be carried out behind a temporary concrete barrier.

To enable safe working and to reduce disruption for the travelling public, short term temporary closures will be required to carry out essential items of work. These will be mostly overnight. These closures will be widely publicised in advance.

Vehicle access to the recreation area at Midsummer Meadow from the Bedford Road will not be open for use for approximately 52 weeks, while work is in progress. This land belongs to Northampton Borough Council who have allowed the site to be used so that the office is in a convenient place to the works and, convenient for members of the public to visit should they have any enquiries.

This area had offered some limited, free, day time and evening parking for people using the riverside area and this will unfortunately not be the case while the works are taking place. Free parking is still available after 6:00pm in the nearby Midsummer Meadow car park.

During this time the contractor’s office and compound will be situated in this area of Midsummer Meadow - this is necessary to ensure the safety of the public and the workforce during the highways works.

It is appreciated that this is a widely used recreation area and this will still be accessible to pedestrians. The rest of Midsummer Meadow will be open for use as usual.

The construction work is expected to finish in March 2011. The contractor’s compound will remain for a short period following this date, prior to vehicular access reopening to the public.

A detailed traffic management programme of works is available on the Northamptonshire County Council website.