A43 Corby Link Road Opening

The new multi-million pound Corby Link Road, which will help boost the economy in the north of the county, was open to the public on Friday 23rd May by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP. The ribboncutting ceremony initiated a transport procession representing Northamptonshire which included a Corby-based Bluebird high speed electric vehicle, a procession of HGVs from county fi rms, emergency vehicles as well as the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade’s fi re engine ‘Queen Eleanor’. Pupils from Geddington C of E Primary School arrived in a vintage double-decker bus to be part of the ceremony.

The four-mile long dual carriageway connects the existing A43 near the village of Stanion to the A6003 near Barford Bridge, north-west of Kettering. As well as improving the link between the north of the county and the A14, the road will also reduce congestion on other local roads on the network, improving road safety, particularly in the village of Geddington.

Constructed by Interserve Construction Limited, the road has taken just under two years to complete, on schedule, despite an extremely wet summer in 2012 and one of the wettest winters on record in 2013 to 2014. The Government has contributed £20.594m, with Northamptonshire County Council being responsible for funding the remainder of the £34million scheme.

The opening of the A43 Corby Link Road also proves how relatively ordinary people can succeed in doing something rather extraordinary. Back in 1998, then Geddington vicar, Richard Dorrington, was the most vocal campaigner for a solution to the A43 problem. At the time, the road was carrying over 15,000 vehicles at high speed every day, many of them HGVs, and all previous attempts at a solution had foundered on political infi ghting at both local and
national level. Richard Dorrington called for a meeting which assembled over 200 people and, as a consequence, the politically independent A43 Action Group was formed by Charlie McCormick, John Cole, John Doran, Helen Featherstone, Mike Wilson, Bill Driver and Margaret Paragreen.

With the help of many volunteers, the Group carried out surveys, supported by 24-hour road watches, to identify the wish for a lower speed limit and traffi c calming measures in the short term, and for traffi c diversion in the long term. After several years of campaigning, the A43 Action Group persuaded the county to lower the speed limit to 30mph, install a new pelican crossing and fi tting speed cameras in the village. After even more years of countless meetings and presentations, the efforts and persistence of the Group helped the suggested link road move up the rank to become top priority in the county.

Despite a set-back when the road building programme underwent cuts and the link road was withdrawn, the scheme was later re-instated and eventually given the green light, following a public inquiry. The scheme is not only a vital economic link to unlocking development in Corby and the surrounding area but also relieves Geddington of the thousands of vehicles that have thundered along the A43 for the past four decades.