Retro: Opening of A14 two decades ago

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It is 20 years this month since the the final section of the A14 leading west from Rothwell was opened, completing the final link between the motorway and East Anglia.

The road also gave Kettering direct access to the motorway network, with a Telegraph experiment in July 1994 showing the A14 cut journey times between the town and the junction with the M1 and the M6 by more than a third.

The A14 at Kettering, pictured in April 1996

The A14 at Kettering, pictured in April 1996

The development was not without controversy, notably surrounding the building of a dual carriageway across the decisive Civil War site of the 1645 Battle of Naseby.

But it was greeted warmly by politicians and business leaders in the north of the county as heralding “the dawn of a new era for industry”.

And for motorists, it meant a link between Kettering and the motorway without having to negotiate a route via Rothwell, Desborough, Market Harborough, Husbands Bosworth and Lutterworth.

Telegraph reporter Sue Tiley, who compared the brand-new stretch of road with the previous route, said of the latter: “I shared the frustrations of many drivers as we waited behind slow-moving vehicles, unable to overtake, and pottered through village upon village at 30mph.

“The residents of these villages must also feel like they’ve woken from a nightmare with the opening of the link road.”

We have taken the opportunity to look into our picture archive to bring you pictures of Kettering and its surroundings around the time the various sections of the new road were opened in the early 1990s.

They indicate how much has changed in the town in the two decades since.

The aerial photos show Kettering prior to the building of shops, cinema, businesses and housing around Pytchley Road and Northampton Road.

You can also see a significantly less developed Telford Way Industrial Estate and Thrapston before the building of new homes near the council HQ and Huntingdon Road depots.