Town secures cash injection for proposed town centre bridge that will combat congestion under £46.7m government funding scheme

Deputy mayor Charles Royden with Mayor Dave Hodgson at the site of the proposed new town bridge.

Deputy mayor Charles Royden with Mayor Dave Hodgson at the site of the proposed new town bridge.

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A congestion busting bridge for Bedford could be one step closer thanks to a slice of a £46.7 million pot of funding.

The investment under the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) is part of a second round of funding delivered by the government’s Local Growth Fund.

A total of 10 projects across the South East Midlands will benefit from the cash injection - including plans for the Batts Ford Bridge, which proposed to connect the Borough Hall to River Street and help ease town centre traffic congestion.

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson said: “This is a huge boost for our project to deliver a comprehensive decongestion plan for Bedford town centre, featuring the much-needed new road bridge river crossing.

This additional river crossing will form part of a wider Bedford Town Centre Regeneration Plan, which will deliver the radical improvement needed to get traffic moving and improve journeys for all road users. It’s been talked about for decades, but we don’t want to just talk about it, we want to make it happen, just as we have with the bus station and the bypass, for example.

“That’s why we’re delighted that the scheme will receive a contribution from the Local Growth Fund, which is excellent news for our efforts to bring this vital project forward.”

Plans to create an advanced electrical design and electronics centre at Bedford College have also been boosted and funding has been earmarked for the Marston Vale Innovation Park - a 1,600 job, manufacturing and engineering base.

Minister for communities Stephen Williams is due to visit The Higgins in Bedford today to announce the funding boost.