This road project has now been completed. This page will be available for 24 months from the date of scheme completion, after which time you will only be able to access this information on The National Archive version of this page.

A421 Bedford to M1 Junction 13

Project status:   Completed
Region:  East

Start date:   October 2008
End date:  December 2010

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  £200 million*


Where was the project located?
This scheme comprised 13km of new dual two and three lane carriageway between junction 13 on the M1 and the west side of Bedford at the junction with the A6.

Why was the scheme needed?
The London and South Midlands Multi Modal Study identified the need to improve the strategic link between Bedford and Milton Keynes, in order to reduce the number of casualties that had been occurring on this route, reduce 'rat-running' on local roads and improve journey time reliability.

*The estimated final cost for this scheme is £200 million. This figure is subject to final account closures and may result in a variation of this figure.

What work was carried out?
M1 Junction 13 has been remodelled, with a new bridge carrying the A421 across the M1 while also utilising the existing bridge to the south east for local traffic movements and connection to the new Ridgmont Bypass.

New "grade separated" junctions are provided at Marston Moretaine and Marsh Leys. At Marsh Leys, the circulatory carriageway was constructed as part of the Bedford Western Bypass Scheme, with a financial contribution from the A421 Scheme budget. Most of the new road is dual 2 lane carriageway, constructed essentially off the original line, although the 1.2km section from Marsh Leys to the A6 is dual 3 lane and on the original line.

How did this benefit road users?
The scheme objectives were:

  • To improve one of the transport links identified by the London and South Midlands Multi Modal Study by improving the strategic link between Bedford and Milton Keynes.
  • To improve journey time reliability.
  • To improve safety and reduce the number of casualties currently occurring on this route.
  • To reduce 'rat-running' on local roads.
  • To ensure no significant worsening of the environmental assessment for Stage 3 compared to Stage 2 (as per the Appraisal Summary Table sub-criteria assessment results), and improve them, where possible, within the constraints of the brief.
  • For the scheme to be affordable.
  • For the scheme to make best use of the existing network where possible, with any improvements being contiguous with the existing carriageway.

Following scheme completion, we undertake a Post Opening Project Evaluation (POPE) to assess whether the scheme has achieved its anticipated outcomes. The evaluation is generally carried out at one and five years after scheme opening. The results of the POPE allow us to learn lessons and improve future scheme delivery.

Learn more about the POPE process.

How do I find out more information?
If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.


A421 Bedford to M1 Junction 13 - Supplementary Orders
The original orders for this scheme were made in 2008 but it has been brought to our attention that the routes of some existing footpaths and bridleways were shown in the incorrect alignment. These draft orders are to correct these anomalies.