M1 Catthorpe Interchange improvements delayed

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Work to improve the safety of a Leicestershire motorway junction has been delayed until at least 2015.

Junction 19 of the M1, the Catthorpe Interchange, sees 100,000 vehicles a day and has a poor safety record.

A public inquiry into the £300m upgrade, where the M1, M6 and A14 meet, was shelved in the summer.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said while the project addressed clear problems, it did not currently fit within a "realistic budget".

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We have therefore had to set back spending on a number of schemes, to ensure they fit within a realistic budget”

End Quote Department of Transport

Residents in nearby towns have complained that traffic avoiding the junction causes congestion in the area.

Brian Smith, a Harborough district councillor covering its Bosworth ward, believed the government had its priorities wrong.

"The fact that they are going to spend the money on the A46 improvements, the M1 hard shoulder and the Nottingham tram signalling, I think they ought to spend the money on a different thing.

"I am a staunch Conservative but I really think they have got it wrong this time."

A spokesman for the DfT said the previous government had planned to almost triple road spending by 2015.

"While we are committed to investing in Britain's transport infrastructure, we do not believe that such an increase can be reconciled with the Government's fiscal goals.

"We have therefore had to set back spending on a number of schemes, to ensure they fit within a realistic budget."

Leicestershire County Council said it was "disappointed that a vital scheme for the south of the county had been put back."

The project is one of 14 schemes, including the A14 Kettering bypass, the department believes have merit but have to be delayed.

The viaduct replacement at Junction 19 will continue as planned, the spokesman added.

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