Survey reveals major town centre road in danger of collapse
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions
relating to the St Mary's Street closure, follow this link.
Bedford Borough Council has announced the temporary closure of a
major town centre route after a survey revealed that St Mary’s
Street was in danger of collapse. Although the road surface between
Duckmill Lane and the junction with Cauldwell St appears in
reasonable condition, the surface conceals problems in the roads
foundations caused by inadequate drainage.
The conditions mean that it will need to be completely rebuilt
and resurfaced in a scheme which will take 8 weeks to complete,
starting on 3 October.
Given the extent of work required, St Mary’s St and the Town
Bridge will be closed northbound (heading towards St Paul’s Square
and the town centre) throughout this period. Southbound traffic
will be reduced to one lane.
Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for the Environment
and Transport, said: “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.
“This is a safety issue requiring urgent work now to avoid the
possibility of a more serious carriageway failure in the future.
Because this is one of our major town centre roads leading to
Bedford’s historic town bridge we have to get these repairs done
and we will do them properly.
“Nobody wants to have to cause this disruption but these works
are vital, requiring major reconstruction and the installation of
“When we are carrying out road repairs we always try to minimise
disruption to users by working outside of peak hours, such as
overnight. This is not possible with this scheme as the amount of
work required means it must be carried out during the day.
Similarly, the depth of excavations required to rebuild the road
means we cannot open the road outside of the working hours.
“I urge drivers to avoid the area if at all possible. If anyone
has to drive into the town centre they should follow the signed
diversion routes which we are putting in place to reduce
“We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause but I would
like to reassure local residents this work is absolutely vital and
will prevent more serious work being needed in the near future and
provide a better long term surface.”
The working hours at the site will be 7am – 7pm Monday to
Friday. However, the traffic restrictions will remain in place 24
hours a day as the reconstruction of the road will prevent vehicles
from using the road outside of these hours.
In order to ensure the new road will last as long as possible, a
new drainage system will also be installed on the eastern side of
the carriageway in addition to a new footpath. Further minor works
are scheduled for the western pathway but these will take place
after the Christmas period.
Full diversion routes will be signposted around the town centre
and on major routes around the borough. Drivers who need to
travel into the town centre are asked to follow the signed
The Council has already written to local residents and
businesses to inform them of the works and provide them with
contact details should they have any further queries.
The works have been scheduled alongside other major projects on
Goldington Road and Dame Alice St and are scheduled to finish
before the peak Christmas shopping period.
The full programme of works:
• Complete full depth reconstruction of St Mary’s Street from
Duckmill Lane to Cauldwell Street
• Installation of a new kerb drainage system on the eastern
side of the carriageway
• Reconstruction of the eastern footway
• Amendments to the existing kerb line and traffic island at
the Cardington Road junction
The Council will continue to update residents and businesses on the
progress of the works via their website, www.bedford.gov.uk and the Council
Twitter account, @bedfordtweets