15 June 2012
The 17-mile A46 Newark to Widmerpool improvement in Nottinghamshire was officially opened today on time and within budget.
The new link between the A1 and the M1 in the East Midlands will mean reduced congestion, improved safety and more reliable journey times for road users and businesses, as well as a better environment for some local communities with the construction of new bypasses.
To celebrate the opening of the scheme to dual the last remaining single carriageway section between M1 J21a north of Leicester and Newark Western Relief Road, Highways Agency Chief Executive Graham Dalton today revealed an inscription on the Flintham Bridleway Bridge.
He said: "I am delighted to be here to celebrate the opening of this scheme. Dualling the missing section of the A46 from Newark to Widmerpool will bring many benefits. It will reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability between Newark and the M1, which businesses in particular will welcome. Safety will be improved not only for road users but for residents of communities along the route such as Farndon and East Stoke, who have already seen a dramatic reduction in traffic flows thanks to the creation of new bypasses. I congratulate all involved with the construction of this project. I am impressed with the way everyone has worked together to ensure minimum disruption for road users, residents and landowners."
Construction work on the new 17-mile dual carriageway started in June 2009, and also saw the creation of eight split-level junctions, 13 overbridges, four underbridges, two bridleway bridges, one footway/cycleway underpass, a canal crossing and a railway bridge.
The project has seen:
The removal of 2.4 million cubic metres of earthworks and 441,000 tonnes of steel reinforcement used.
Since August 2010 no waste has been sent to landfill, with around 20 miles of hedgerow planted and 80 acres of woodland created to replace the 15 acres lost.
Nearly 148 acres of grassland has been created to replace the 80 acres lost.
Highways Agency senior project manager Geoff Bethel said:
"The fact we have received such a large volume of compliments from road users and communities along the route over the last three years is testament to the work that has gone into the project. I'm delighted that we've kept disruption to a minimum and that people can now benefit from the new and improved A46."
The Highways Agency's principal contractor was Balfour Beatty. Mike Peasland, Chief Executive Officer of Balfour Beatty, said:
"Together we have played an essential part in achieving the Highways Agency's ambitions to be "best in class" in operating, maintaining and improving England's Strategic Road Network."
Before main construction work began a series of archaeological excavations took place along the 17-mile route. Key finds, which made headlines across the world, included:
Evidence of flint tools from 13,000 years ago at Farndon.
An early Bronze Age burial monument at Stragglethorpe.
Evidence of Iron Age settlement at Saxondale and what would later become Margidunum.
A Roman well near the Scheduled Ancient Monument of Margidunum.
Finds are still being catalogued and will be donated to local museums in due course. The Roman well was donated to Bingham Heritage Trails Association, which has relocated it in the town so future generations have an understanding of the area's Roman past.
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