New life for disused A1 buildings
Highways England has started work to demolish a derelict weighbridge station to expand a much-needed rest area for lorries and cars using the A1
The site, in a layby off the A1 northbound at Sandy, had been used as a weighbridge by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, but has not been used for many years.
Now a £180,000 scheme will see the disused buildings converted into additional parking for HGVs, cars and vans, complementing the existing busy layby there that provided minimal parking at present. The two abandoned buildings and weighbridge scale currently cost Highways England over £5,000 a year, are regularly vandalised, and considered a blight in the area.
Highways England project manager Andy Shilliday said: “This stretch of the A1 is always busy, particularly with HGVs, and there is a demand for more lorry parking in Bedfordshire. By providing additional parking for drivers, we will help to meet these needs, and this will reduce the risk of vehicles parking inappropriately.
“We will be removing disused buildings that continue to be a drain on the taxpayer, and instead replacing them with parking to help meet the needs of road users.”
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “We are pleased that there will be an extra lane in the layby on the A1 to enable drivers to take regular rests, especially if they are on long journeys.
“Legislation means that HGV drivers in particular need to take mandatory rests so that they can safely concentrate on their job. This facility will create a new and convenient area for them to park up and rest alongside the A1 road itself. We’d rather that lorry drivers are able to use these larger designated parking areas, as otherwise they can be tempted to go into nearby villages or use small laybys on unsuitable country lanes to park during their required rest stops instead.”
The layby will remain open during the daytime, with existing parking slighting reduced while Highways England completes the work. The layby will need to be closed for three nights to allow the site to be resurfaced.
Once completed, the new site will provide additional parking for three articulated HGVs, five lorries, and nine cars or vans. The work will also involve replacing concrete bollards, removing a light, replacing the kerb, resurfacing the footpath, clearing the vegetation, clearing the gullets and ditch, and providing a new pedestrian crossing point.
The work, which began yesterday (Tuesday 28 May), is due to be finished by the middle of June.