Work on the A45 Daventry development link road has officially started with a sod-cutting ceremony officially launching construction work.
The road will form a new 3.5mile long single carriageway which will improve transport links between the towns of Northampton and Daventry, and improve access between Daventry and the M1 motorway.
The Northamptonshire County Council project will also relieve communities in Flore, Weedon and Upper Heyford of through traffic as well as supporting future growth in the Daventry district.
The first turf was cut by county council leader Cllr Jim Harker; leader of Daventry District Council Cllr Chris Millar; as well as local villagers Wendy Amos and Duncan Shepherd, who represented the communities set to benefit.
The £32million project has been paid for through an innovative finance arrangement known as the Northamptonshire revolving infrastructure fund, which unites funding streams and sees local authorities, developers and contractors working together to put the money in place. This approach has been possible because of the county council funding the design, planning and implementation costs upfront.
To kick-start the scheme, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership provided £14million of government Growth Deal money, while Daventry District Council has played a key role in unlocking money that will come from the future development the road will allow.
Cllr Jim Harker, county council leader, said: “This is an important project in a number of ways including being essential to provide the adequate infrastructure to support future economic growth in the Daventry district.
“However one of the big gains is for the villages for which this road will provide a bypass, as it will bring long-awaited relief to the heavy traffic that has passed through these communities for many years.
“This hasn’t been an easy project to get started, mainly because of the lack of funding which is available for infrastructure projects nationally.
“But we’ve managed to find a way – working with our partners to pool together finances for the project which will bring far-reaching benefits for many people in the county.
“This project is an endorsement of innovative working and collaboration can bring about positive achievement.”
Sajeeda Rose, Chief Operating Officer, NEP said: “This project is hugely important, not only to local communities who have been campaigning a long time for the development but to the Northamptonshire economy as a whole, hence NEP’s investment of £14 million Growth Deal funding towards the total cost of £32 million. This is our most significant Growth Deal project and will impact considerably in terms of opening up and unlocking new housing development and economic growth potential.
“Today marks a significant milestone and it has been a pleasure working with Northamptonshire County Council and Daventry District Council to bring it to fruition.”
Cllr Chris Millar, Leader of Daventry District Council, said: “This is a large investment for this Council, but it is crucial to the future development of Daventry that we have the link road in place.
“Not only will it provide the long awaited traffic relief in the villages it bypasses, but it will also improve links between Daventry, the M1 and Northampton and assist in attracting further inward investment.
“After many years of work to get to this position, we are delighted to see work start on this crucial project.”
Designed and constructed by KierWSP and Balfour Beatty, the link road will start at a new roundabout on the existing A45 between the settlements of Dodford and Weedon, to the east of Globe Farm. It will then pass to the north of the villages of Weedon, Flore and Upper Heyford before rejoining the A45 at a new roundabout between Upper Heyford and the M1 motorway at junction 16.
The road has also been designed so that it could become a dual-carriageway in the future.