A study looking at ways to improve the A45 from Northampton to its junction with the A14 has been carried out.
WSP has completed the major study for Northamptonshire County Council, which says there is the potential to provide the transport infrastructure necessary to enable 35,000 new jobs in the area over the next 15 years and release more than 44,000 new homes.
It recommends the implementation of a pilot scheme that would improve transport capacity and journey times on the 23-mile stretch of the A45 from the M1 to the A14 junction at Thrapston.
Engineers at WSP have proposed technology enhancements to the A45 without needing any major civil engineering works.
Instead, improvements would be made using new systems such as CCTV coverage, queue protection and variable message signs, as well as the use of variable advisory speed limits.
Alongside the technology, collaborative working between Highways England, Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Police would be trialled at a strategic, tactical and operation level.
The A45 provides an ideal testing ground for the scheme - which is based on the Major Road Network concept - as it would alleviate congestion in the short term on this road that supports the Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge corridor.
Other benefits anticipated from the A45 pilot include:
- A safer and more reliable journey for users
- A more resilient network, reducing the level of disruption caused by incidents, roadworks and major events
- Better provision of travel information
Ian Achurch at Northamptonshire County Council said: “This report has a lot of synergy with the findings and conclusions of the National Infrastructure Commission in its work on the Cambridge to Oxford growth area.
“In particular the need to enhance infrastructure and east-west connectivity in the wider economic area to support growth and innovation and unlock housing.
“The A45 around Northampton is a known congestion hotspot that causes frustration to residents and businesses alike.
“We now have a clear road map for implementing the Major Road Network as a pilot in Northamptonshire using a collaborative and technological approach that offers an excellent return on investment.
“The improvements will also help with unlocking development and economic growth in the north of the county, particularly the Wellingborough and Rushden Lakes areas.
“The changes would not only help traffic flow and the economy but would also have environmental and safety benefits.
“We look forward to discussing the conclusions of the report with Highways England and government with a view to piloting this approach as soon as possible.”
The lessons learnt from this project will be used to implement the Major Road Network across Northamptonshire and England’s Economic Heartland region.
Mark Fell, ITS regional lead for the South East and London at WSP, said: “This approach is truly pioneering as it’s been designed to be relatively low cost as it wouldn’t require significant civil engineering works.
“With WSP’s intelligent transport services expertise, the Major Road Network concept will become a key element of local highway authority and regional transport partnership transport strategies.
“It’s fantastic to have been a part of this project and we look forward to its implementation.”