Thirteen kilometres of dual carriageway will be built between M1 and Bedford.

Balfour Beatty has won a £171m civil engineering contract for the A421 scheme between the M1 and Bedford.

This scheme will see M1 Junction 13 remodelled and a 13km dual carriageway built between the M1 and the existing ring road to the south of Bedford.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler said: “The opportunity afforded by this form of contract to work in partnership with the customer, the designer and other stakeholder groups in developing the scheme helps ensure the best possible project out-turn.”

Currently the A421 is largely single carriageway and construction on the new link is meant to start in early 2008 with the new road meant due open in 2010.

Work on the design development, statutory process and environmental statement will start immediately.