A major route linking the Stanton Cross development and Wellingborough’s town centre could open in a matter of months.
Developers say Route 4 - a road linking Irthlingborough Road with the railway station - will open by ‘the middle of 2019’.
It will be the first route connecting the town with the housing development which will see 3,650 new homes, shops, employment areas, schools and more once complete.
Route 4 was originally planned to open by March 2018.
A Stanton Cross spokesman said: “Galliford Try is well progressed on Route 4, a major new road which will link Wellingborough’s existing road network just outside the railway station with Irthlingborough Road, crossing the railway line and the River Ise.
“In April we will be undertaking works on Midland Road ahead of the completion of Route 4, to enable the early opening of the road to traffic in the middle of 2019.”
When the road opens it will provide much easier access to the Leyland Trading Estate, with struggling businesses currently facing a 4.9 mile diversion because of the closure of the Irthlingborough Road bridge.
Last month Network Rail told the Northants Telegraph the diversion would remain in place until Route 4 opened. Businesses were originally told the Irthlingborough Road bridge would open by April this year. It will now remain closed for good with a replacement bridge planned to open by mid-2020.
Paul Cousens, manager at Wellingborough Tyres on the trading estate, said he was hopeful that the opening of Route 4 would alleviate some of the problems but said he still fears access will be hampered.
He said: “Hopefully it will help but knowing how it’s gone so far there have been problems.
“Then they’ve got to start work on the rest of the station so that could bring roadworks.
“It’s a sticking plaster on an open wound and we will still have problems with no passing trade.”
Businesses on the estate attended a meeting last week where they were told the Irthlingborough Road bridge would definitely not open again.
Paul said businesses are still struggling with some potentially facing closure.
He said: “I had a customer the other day who lives in one of the first Stanton Cross houses whose child goes to Wrenn School who used to use the bus.
“Now he has to get up earlier each day to take them because the bus can’t go across the bridge. It’s just such bad planning.
“Business is still bad but we have had people coming saying they’ll support us because they’ve read about the bridge.
“But there’s other businesses saying they can’t survive for that much longer.”
When they announced the Irthlingborough Road bridge would not re-open, a Network Rail spokesman said: “Given the location of the Stanton Cross development nearby, Network Rail has been liaising closely with the Stanton Cross project team and Northamptonshire County Council regarding plans for replacing Irthlingborough Road bridge with a like-for-like structure.
“The Stanton Cross project team has agreed terms with Network Rail for the construction of a new, improved bridge over the railway that represents a better long-term solution for the area.
“The new bridge will incorporate a footpath as well as a cycleway and provide an improved a link to the A45. Work will also take place to improve the alignment of Irthlingborough Road to better connect with the new structure and remove the need for the traffic light controls that were required over the old bridge.
“The design of the new bridge is expected to complete in Autumn 2019 and construction scheduled to finish in mid-2020. A temporary bridge is in place for pedestrians and cyclists and will remain so. The current diversion route will remain in place until the new bridge (Route 4) linking Midland Road and Irthlingborough Road as part of the Stanton Cross development opens later this year.
“Whilst we believe this is positive news that will benefit the area over the longer-term, we appreciate the disruption caused and we would like to thank motorists and neighbours for their patience whilst this work takes place.”