A series of £25 million road improvements in our area, including the creation of a new junction 10a on the A14 near Kettering, have been announced by the Government this morning (Monday, December 1).
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon George Osborne MP, announced that he has given the go ahead to the project, as well as another which will upgrade the Chowns Mill Roundabout at Higham Ferrers.
The roundabout links the A45 and A6, but suffers from significant levels of congestion and has witnessed a number of accidents.
The upgrade will address these issues, helping open up development and create jobs.
In addition, Mr Osborne announced a study into dualling the A45 between Stanwick and Thrapston, so that the A45 can provide a continuous expressway between the A14 and the M1.
The A14 improvement is part of the ongoing East Kettering development.
Kettering Council says the new junction, once built, will provide a vital link to new housing, education and business employment developments in the area.
It is anticipated that the new junction 10A will help unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment in housing and jobs in the immediate area.
Kettering Council’s chief executive, David Cook, said: “The announcement is fantastic news and is the result of significant lobbying efforts by the council, the developers and our other public and private sector partners.
“The persistence shown by everybody involved is the genesis of this announcement – the achievement in securing this funding should not be understated.”
Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, said: “A lot of people have worked extremely hard in order to make the case for funding for the new A14 junction 10A.
“Today’s announcement from the Government comes almost three years after funding was announced for the widening of the A14. Together these two major road improvements can provide a significant springboard for future investment in jobs in the area.”
The leader of Kettering Council, Cllr Russell Roberts said: “This announcement is fantastic news and shows the confidence the Government has in the area.
“Kettering Council has worked extremely hard with its partners in order to ensure that the borough will grow responsibly in the future.
“It was central to our case that future transport provision benefited the existing community and road users by easing traffic congestion whilst at the same time, unlocking the capacity to meet the demands of a progressive and forward moving borough well into the future.”
Mr Osborne said: “We are committing up to £25 million to upgrade the Chowns Mill Roundabout, linking the A45 and A6 at Higham Ferrers, and have commissioned a study into dualling the A45 between Stanwick and Thrapston.
“The work will improve road safety, reduce congestion and bring new development, and we will find a way to dual this crucial part of the A45.”
Mr Osborne praised Peter Bone MP and the prospective candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire, Tom Pursglove, for their work in lobbying for the improvements and the study.
Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Andy Sawford said he was disappointed that the Government had not offered more than an environmental study for the dualling work on the A45 between Stanwick and Thrapston.
He added: “I have been working on a cross party basis with East Northamptonshire Council, including a meeting with the Minister for Roads, to press for dualling of the A45.
“I am very disappointed to hear that the Government are only offering an ‘environmental study’, quite literally putting these much needed road improvements into the long grass.
“I will be asking urgent questions in Parliament about when this study will begin and how long it will take.
“As far as I can see there is no money budgeted to actually carry out the dualling on the A45 so this seems like all spin and no substance. “On Chowns Mill roundabout there is a clear need to tackle the congestion problems but this needs to be done in the right way or there is a risk that the problems could be made worse.
“I want to know if all the routes to the roundabout will be kept open or if closures will be needed, will they be 24 hour or just overnight, and for how long?”
Steven North, leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said: “This is great news for the district and, in particular, will dramatically improve Chowns Mill roundabout which many people struggle with every day.
“Investment such as this will also support the developments taking place at Rushden Lakes and to the east of the town improving our road networks in a way that encourages people to come and live, work or play here.”
Improvements to the Chowns Mill roundabout will include segregated lanes, signalling and construction of some additional carriageways to serve the junction, facilitating development.
Meanwhile, the A45 between Stanwick and the A14 will be subject to an environmental study to dual the road between Stanwick and Thrapston.
The Government says the work will allow further growth in Kettering and Rushden.
For more information on the investment scheme, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/biggest-upgrade-to-roads-in-a-generation