A major new link road at the Catthorpe Interchange near Rugby opened this morning (Friday).
The new carriageway linking the M1 southbound to the A14 eastbound opened at 6am, as part of the M1 junction 19 Catthorpe improvement scheme by Highways England.
The single-lane link means drivers travelling south on the M1 to head east on the A14 will no longer have to negotiate the ‘dumbbell’ roundabouts .
The roads agency says this will remove the last trace of congestion at the notorious bottleneck.
Project manager Ivan Marriott said: “We worked hard to put this permanent link in place prior to the bank holiday weekend so we could provide drivers with the benefits of a direct M1 to A14 eastbound link as soon as possible.”
Due to the significant change to the road layout, new signs are now in place and the agency is advising drivers to ignore their sat-nav devices, get in lane when instructed and drive carefully while getting used to the new arrangement.
Motorists accustomed to joining the local road network at the interchange from the M1 southbound are reminded that access at the junction is no longer possible.
Local traffic will need to use alternative routes from junction 20 on the M1 southbound or junction 1 on the M6 or A14.
The 50mph speed restrictions on the approaches to junction 19 will remain in place, for safety reasons says the agency, while construction of the final improvement works are completed.
An estimated 142,000 vehicles pass through the junction every day.
The £191million project to improve the junction started in January 2014 and is due to be completed by December of this year.
Updates about scheme can be found on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/m1j19.