Emotional day as husband of bypass campaigner opens Northamptonshire £40 million link road

A link road bypassing two harrassed Northamptonshire villages has opened today (Thursday) more than 70 years after the idea was first raised.

The A45 Daventry Development Link, which funnels vehicles around Flore and Weedon, was first discussed in the 1940s.

Various campaign groups were set up to get it built in the following decades, in order to spare villagers road accidents, traffic queues and pollution.

Frances Shepherd, who passed away in 1988, was one of the former chairs of the Flore Bypass Action Group in the 1970s, and her proud husband Duncan was on hand to help open the road today.

Mr Shepherd said: "She'd be pleased, so would her colleagues

"I think she'd be laughing at me. I'm nervous like it's my wedding day."

The new link road, looking from the A45 near Weedon towards Flore

The new link road, looking from the A45 near Weedon towards Flore

As he cut the ribbon in front of gathered highways workers and dignitaries he declared: "In memory of all of those who worked so hard over the years."

The Northamptonshire County Council scheme has seen the building of a single carriageway which will improve the speed of journeys between Northampton and Daventry, and improve access between Daventry and the M1.

The project will also relieve communities in Flore, Weedon and Upper Heyford of through traffic as well as supporting future growth in the Daventry district.

The link road starts at a new roundabout on the existing A45 between the Dodford and Weedon, to the east of Globe Farm.

It then passes to the north of the villages of Weedon, Flore and Upper Heyford before rejoining the A45 at a new roundabout between Upper Heyford and the M1 motorway at junction 16.

Cllr Ian Morris (Con, Silverstone ), county council cabinet member for transport, said: “Not only does it improve transport links but it also helps unlock housing growth in the Daventry area.

“But perhaps most importantly it is the people in the nearby villages who will be thrilled to have this road which will make their communities safer."

Councillor Chris Millar, leader of Daventry District Council, said: “The link road will relieve traffic in the villages it bypasses, and is key to our long-term plans for the sustainable growth of Daventry."

Construction of the scheme began in July 2016.

The budget for the A45 Daventry Development Link is £40.9million, funded by the SEMLEP Local Growth Deal, the Highways England Growth and Housing Fund, Northamptonshire County Council, Daventry District Council and developer funding.