Plans for £64.6m Luton bypass win backing
A new £64.6m link road opposed by conservation groups, residents and local authorities has been approved.
Central Bedfordshire Council's development management committee backed the M1 to A6 Link Road on green belt land north of Luton.
Opponents argued it would bring "gridlock" to the area.
A final decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The 2.75-mile (4.4km) road will have single and dual carriageway stretches and a 50mph (80km/h) speed limit.
The council said it would relieve congestion and ease traffic on surrounding roads.
The plans include 4,000 homes and a rail freight interchange in Sundon.
As reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the route will run through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Eighty comments criticising the scheme were lodged, with opposition from conservation groups, local authorities and residents.
David Oakley-Hill, from Luton Friends of the Earth, said: "Luton is seriously over-developed and it can't take this level of new housing.
"This road will end at the A6, which is already over capacity. That would completely seize it up and bring total gridlock, crippling Luton."
Harlington parish councillor John Harfield said: "It will do irreversible damage to the Chilterns."
Luton Borough Council argued there was no evidence to suggest the road was needed and David Franks, a Liberal Democrat councillor on the authority, described it as a "lunatic scheme".
Central Bedfordshire Council said: "The road supports our priorities to enhance Central Bedfordshire by delivering improved infrastructure that will open up opportunities for employment, leisure activities and housing."
Work could start in 2020 and is expected to take two years.