From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Via:||Rugby, Northampton, Bedford, St Neots|
|Length:||82.5 miles (132.8 km)|
|Meets:||A4600, A444, B4110, A4082, B4027, A46, B4455, A4071, A426, B4642, B5414, B4429, B4038, A5, M1, B5385, A4500, A5080, A508, A5123, A4501, A45, A5095, B5388, A509, B565, A422, A6, B560, B531, A421, A1, B1428, B1043, B1046, B1428, B1040, A1198, A1303, M11, A14|
|Former Number(s):||A6002, A45|
|Old route now:||A4280, A421|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Coventry – Crick
The road begins to the east of Coventry city centre on the A4600, Sky Blue Way, a major dual-carriageway link. The A4600 turns off to the north and the dual carriageway continues as the primary A428, as far as a roundabout with the A444, Phoenix Way, after which it becomes the non-primary single-carriageway Binley Road (previously part of the A427 – some signs still refer to it as such). There is a short stretch of dual carriageway, with bus lanes, either side of the signalised junction with the A4082 Allard Way, and it then continues through Binley and meets the A46 Coventry Eastern Bypass at a roundabout.
From here, the A428 passes through the villages of Binley Woods and Brandon before opening out into the countryside, passing agricultural land. This section was previously national speed limit, but has been cut to 50 mph. This is possibly due to the bad bends, thought to be due to the road following historic field boundaries. At Bretford the road doglegs right then left to cross the River Avon by means of a narrow bridge (signalized to allow traffic to flow in only direction at a time), briefly taking over a part of the route of the Fosse Way (B4455). Resuming its generally eastward bearing, the A428 now follows a somewhat straighter alignment (apart from passing under a low railway bridge on a shallow double bend between the villages of Church Lawford and Long Lawford) on its way to the town of Rugby.
After crossing the Rugby Western Relief Road (A4071), the road continues into the town centre by way of a gyratory junction with the A426 and passes Rugby School before heading out eastward towards the suburb of Hillmorton. Here, the A428 passes over the Oxford Canal and under the West Coast Main Line before meeting the A5 at a roundabout. The next kilometre from here to Junction 18 of the M1 at Crick takes us through the extensive area occupied by the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and the road becomes a dual carriageway with roundabouts giving access to the terminal's facilities. The motorway junction here is a significant point, as it was the original northern terminus of the M1 when it opened in 1959.
Section 2: Crick – Bedford
The A428, having briefly "multiplexed" with a spur of the A5, regains its number on the far side of the motorway junction, from which it heads – no longer a primary route – towards Crick itself. The route once passed through the middle of the village; however a northern bypass was opened in June 2002. The road crosses the Grand Union Canal, and there are a few roundabouts along the way to the village of West Haddon, which has also been bypassed since December 2005. The road runs through extensive countryside and skirts the northern boundary of the Althorp estate near Harleston. After passing through a wooded stretch, the A428 enters the Borough of Northampton.
The route becomes primary again after crossing Spencer Bridge Road (the A4500). We skirt the south of the city centre, turning right from the inner ring road onto Bedford Road, to reach the A45 outer ring at a grade-separated junction by the River Nene. Then, we run east past Great and Little Houghton – Little Houghton having been bypassed to the south. We pass through Brafield-on-the-Green, but bypass Denton to the south. Before passing Yardley Hastings, we cross a long avenue: the driveway of Castle Ashby to the north. Then we reach a roundabout with the A509 before passing through Lavendon. After the junction with the B565 we pass Cold Brayfield, then we cross the River Great Ouse on the way into Turvey, around which there is an abundance of parkland rather than the many fields we have passed through.
Immediately west of the village of Bromham we meet the A422 at a roundabout junction marking the eastern terminus of the latter route. From here the A428 swings round to skirt the south side of the village, a left turn providing a connection to a former section of the A5134 – now bridged by the bypass – running towards Kempston. After crossing the Great Ouse for a second time our route reaches a roundabout where the A428 turns right (the straight-on route is the A6). The road now forms the recently completed Western by-pass of Bedford running to the west of Great Denham, crossing the Great Ouse yet again, and joining the A421 at Marsh Leys.
Section 3: St Neots – Cambridge
The final leg of the A428 used to be the A45, and is still trunk. It has a highly promising start at a trumpet junction with the A1 just south of St Neots, but this soon fizzles out as it crosses the old Great North Road at a minor roundabout. Here we resume as a single carriageway – the St Neots Bypass – past trading and industrial estates, and cross the River Great Ouse on the St Neots Bypass Bridge. The concentration of power lines in this area is due to Little Barford Power Station, whose chimneys are visible on the south side of the route. The bypass ends at a roundabout with the B1428 and we adopt a fairly straight alignment across prime Cambridgeshire farmland, which occasionally gives way to woodland.
Eltisley is bypassed to the north, then soon after we reach a roundabout with the A1198 (old A14) at Caxton Gibbet, in a gridsquare that contains no contour lines. There is a new stretch of dual carriageway that has a grade-separated junction (dumbbell type) at Cambourne and another at Hardwick. The latter has the distinction of being almost exactly on the Greenwich Meridian. The next point of interest is a freeflow Y-junction to the A1303, which provides the link to the M11 south. If you remain on the A428, you will find yourself inescapably committed to joining the A14 eastbound as there is no exit to either the M11 or the A14 north-west, but there is a seamless link to the eastbound A14, a throwback from the time when the A428 and the A14 east of here were all part of the A45. And that is it: we've arrived at the Girton Interchange, that partial cloverleaf junction at the north end of the M11, and we can't even change roads.
In 1922 the A428 followed most of its current route (a few bypasses have been built since but the majority of the road remains as classified) as far as Bedford, where it ended on the A6 in the town centre. The road ahead, leading to the A1 at the Black Cat, was numbered A6002 and this became an extension of the A428 in 1935.
Following the construction of the A421 Bedford southern bypass in the late 1990s, that road was then extended to the Black Cat, albeit along a bypassed alignment, and the former A428 through Great Barford was declassified. A few years later the A428 was itself routed onto a bypass of Bedford and the old road through town became the A4280.
The road between St Neots and Cambridge had been the A45 since classification. However, that road was truncated to end in Northamptonshire following the construction of the new A14 in the 1990s. This section of the old A45 became an extension of the A428 as that road still reached the Black Cat at the time, only requiring a short multiplex along the A1. The extension of the A421 has not renumbered this section.
The A428 from Oxford to the Black Cat forms part of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway strategic study, for which an interim report was published in August 2016.
- Oxford to Cambridge expressway strategic study: interim report (18 August 2016)