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St Mary's Street closure - Frequently Asked Questions and Info

St Mary's street

Throughout the repair works on St Mary's Street this page will continue to be updated to bring you the latest progress on these major works which are having an effect on town centre traffic.


Further down, you can find an overview of the works and some frequently asked questions.


Week 6 update:


General Progress

During the last week the Contractor has completed the initial carriageway works and has been installing the new combined kerb/drainage system on the southbound channel.  During the next week the Contractor will complete installation of the kerb/drainage system and will be resetting the slab paving behind the new kerbs on the eastern footway.  Works will be undertaken on Sunday to adjust several manhole covers in the carriageway so that they are at the correct level for when the carriageway is resurfaced on Sunday 20th.  The works programmed on Sunday will not start until 1pm so that the Remembrance Sunday events are not affected.


Footway Works on St. Paul’s Square (South)

The footway works at St. Paul’s Square are nearly completed.  The remaining section outside the Magistrate’s Court is to be carried out on Sunday 20th November (to be confirmed).


Traffic Management

We are still experiencing some of the issues with people making illegal manoeuvres from Cauldwell Street into Cardington Road and have adjusted the traffic management to try to overcome this as much as possible.  The police have been informed and are making regular patrols.


Upcoming Road Closures on Sundays

There are some works which will require a full closure of the road in order to carry out operations safely.  Currently 3 full road closures are programmed on Sundays in November (13th (after 1pm), 20th and 27th) to carry out the following:

-          Adjusting chamber covers

-          laying the final surface course on St Mary’s Street

-          installing road markings and traffic loops


Please note that these works are weather dependent.

An overview:

Work starts on St Mary's Street at 7am on Monday 3rd October and lasts for 8 weeks.

St Mary’s Street, between the junction with Cauldwell St and Duckmill Lane is in serious need of repair.

When the former County Council last repaired the road they did not tackle existing drainage problems and simply improved the road surface. As a result the ongoing drainage problems have weakened the structure of the road causing severe surface problems and leaving an unacceptable risk that the road will actually collapse.

The surface of the road may not look particularly bad but underneath the top surface there are serious issues which mean the road is a high risk of failure. It is therefore vital work takes place now to rebuild the road and ensure it is safe for future years.

What are we doing?


In order to repair the road to a high standard and ensure the new road surface lasts for years to come, it is necessary to completely rebuild the road. This means removing 500mm (nearly 2 feet) of tarmac and foundations and then rebuilding the road back up to the current level.

We are also providing new drainage on the eastern side (side of the Kings Arms pub) of the carriageway. We will also be reconstructing the eastern footpath.

Finally, we will be making minor alterations to the traffic island at the junction with Cauldwell St to prevent motorists illegally ‘cutting’ across St Mary’s Street to travel down Cardington Road from Cauldwell Street.

What does this mean?


St Mary’s Street will be closed northbound (heading into town and towards St Paul’s Square) from the junction with Cauldwell Street. This means the town bridge will be closed to traffic heading into town. No vehicles will be allowed to turn left at the Cauldwell St and St Mary’s Street junction.


St Mary’s Street will remain open southbound (heading away from the town centre) but will be reduced to one lane.


The working hours of this project are 7am to 7pm. Whenever possible the Council aims to open roads to traffic outside of the site working hours. However, that is not possible with this scheme because the excavations will be too deep for vehicles to drive over.


Diversions will be signposted around the town centre and on main routes towards the town.


Please click to view the suggested diversion route (Note: you can zoom in or out of the image by holding down CTRL and pressing + or - on the number keypad on your keyboard)


Changes to bus services


Stagecoach Services 71, 72, 73 and 74 will divert inbound  via Longholme Way, The Embankment, Newnham Road, Mill Street and High Street to St. Pauls Square where they will follow the normal line of route to the bus station. As a result, these services will not serve Rope Walk, Kingsway or Bedford College bus stops.  Outbound services are not affected.

All other services will divert inbound via Prebend Street and Midland Road to the Bus Station. The bus stops outside Borough Hall, Bedford College, the Magistrate's Court and Pilgrim's House will not be served by these services during the closure. Passengers for these stops will need to alight at either Britannia Road, Kingsway or Midland Road. Outbound service are not affected.


Why is the work not happening overnight?

Working overnight does allow the Council to minimise disruption to traffic and is the approach taken recently for the major works on Goldington Road. However, the depth of excavations required for St Mary’s Street mean the road cannot be reopened outside of the working hours. It is therefore better value for money and is less inconvenient for local residents to work during the daytime.


Why is the work happening now?


These works need to be scheduled in accordance with other major projects happening in and around the town centre, such as those on Goldington Road and Dame Alice Street.

By carrying out the works now we are able to get the work done before the peak Christmas period. The western pathway also needs some repair work. This will be done in the New Year in order to minimise disruption around Christmas.


Where can I find the latest information?


This page will be updated throughout the project with the latest progress and information. You can also follow the Council's official Twitter feed http://twitter.com/#!/bedfordtweets (you will need to sign in to get the latest updates).

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