Work has started on the Chipping Warden relief road – a project which is being delivered in connection with the Government’s HS2 High Speed Rail project.
The A361, which runs through Chipping Warden, has been identified as a road that will be used by vehicles involved in the construction of the HS2 scheme. The road has long been a concern to residents.
The HS2 proposals offered a unique opportunity to pursue a relief road for Chipping Warden and after strong representations from local residents and MP, Andrea Leadsom, Northamptonshire County Council petitioned Parliament with the aim of securing funding for the road from HS2 Ltd.
A construction compound for HS2 has been built on the airfield site to the north of Chipping Warden, and construction vehicles accessing this compound will use the new relief road once it is completed.
In addition to the construction of Chipping Warden Relief Road HS2 have committed to limit the number of HGVs using the A361 from the M40 to 500 vehicles in each direction.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:
“The village of Chipping Warden has been in need of a relief road for many years but with the associated traffic with the construction of HS2 this is now even more necessary.
“Although the bypass has been a priority for the county council it had been very difficult to obtain the funding required.
“The development of HS2 gave us a unique opportunity to develop a business case to help make the road a reality.”
Uma Shanker, area project director for HS2 said: “This initiative is a combined effort between HS2 and Northamptonshire County Council that will establish a positive legacy for the local road network. We are committed to continue to work in partnership and see this project come to life to benefit the local community.
“An effective and efficient relationship with Northamptonshire County Council is vital for the success of our construction work. The work associated with Chipping Warden relief road is a key enabler.”
Andrea Leadsom, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, said: “I am absolutely delighted that work has now started on the Chipping Warden Relief Road.
“Securing the road through the HS2 process was a huge victory for the village, and I was pleased to support local residents and Northamptonshire County Council in the bid to include the road within the Bill. Without all our efforts, the community would have been faced with the horror of HS2 construction traffic rumbling right through the heart of their village.
“I recognise that there are still concerns from some residents about the need for an acoustic barrier as part of the design, now that the speed limit on the road has been lowered, and I continue to press HS2 Ltd to find a resolution on this point.”
The A361 which runs through Chipping Warden serves as the main route between Daventry and the M40. High traffic volumes through the village particularly HGV’s and car transporters accessing the Appletree Industrial Estate, have long been a concern for residents.
The local community has also repeatedly highlighted congestion and safety concerns associated with the primary school.
High Speed Two Limited contractors will design and build the relief road, while the county council has agreed to make a £2 million contribution towards the cost of the scheme.