Black Cat Roundabout

Coordinates: 52°11′05″N 0°18′19″W / 52.1846°N 0.3054°W / 52.1846; -0.3054
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Black Cat Roundabout
Aerial view of the roundabout looking south
Roxton, Bedfordshire
Coordinates52°11′05″N 0°18′19″W / 52.1846°N 0.3054°W / 52.1846; -0.3054
Roads at
Maintained byNational Highways

Black Cat Roundabout is on the junction between the A1 and A421 (formerly A428) Bedford road just south of St Neots. It was reconstructed in 2005-6 as part of the Great Barford bypass works to allow access to the new dual carriageway bypass.

It takes its name from the garage and car repair workshop which opened in the 1920s at the junction called the Black Cat Garage. In later years the garage was converted to a nightclub and then a restaurant, before becoming derelict for many years. In the 1980s, the current large covered petrol station was opened on the site.

Black cat roundabout on A1

A metal black cat sign was installed on the roundabout in January 2004, taking its shape from the cat on the original garage clock tower. During construction of the Great Barford bypass the black cat was temporarily relocated to the construction site office, before a second larger cat was returned to the roundabout upon completion in 2006. However, this sign was stolen during the summer of 2007. On 12 August 2008 it was announced that a third replacement Black Cat had been installed on the roundabout. In April 2009 the original sign was returned (albeit to a different location), accompanied by a note saying it had been found in a ditch.[1]

The roundabout can regularly be heard being referred to on traffic reports because of the major traffic jams that it causes on the A1.

2005-6 reconstruction[edit]

Black Cat Roundabout with black metal cat.

The roundabout was reconstructed in 2005-6 as part of the Great Barford bypass works to allow access to the new dual carriageway bypass. The roundabout was made much larger to incorporate the extra junction but no measures were taken to improve general traffic flow. The roundabout is considered to be one of the most dangerous junctions on the A1[2]

2014-15 reconstruction[edit]

The Highways Agency began work on 23 June 2014 to reconstruct the roundabout and its approaches.[3] The £5.6M project, part of the 'pinch point' programme, made the roundabout bigger and added traffic lights.[4][5]

Planned replacement (mid 2020s)[edit]

On 18 February 2019, Highways England announced final route selection to replace the single-carriageway section of the A428 from Caxton Gibbet to the A1, with construction to begin in 2022.[6] This work, which reroutes the A1–A14 link so as to connect directly to the A421, will completely replace the roundabout with a three-level grade separated junction.[7]

In March 2021, Highways England announced that it had signed a contract with Skanska to construct the new road, which it expects to open to traffic in 2025–2026.[7]


In September 2021, National Highways announced that this new section of dual carriageway will be designated A421 (and the bypassed sections will be renumbered as A1428 and B1428).[8]

See also[edit]

  • Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, which would have taken over the routes currently designated A421 and A428 but the section between the M1 and M40 was cancelled on 18 March 2021.


  1. ^ Roundabout cat sculpture returns BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks 6 April 2009
  2. ^ Bad Junctions Web Site
  3. ^ Work to begin on Black Cat Roundabout on MondayBedfordshire News 19/06/2014
  4. ^ A1 Black Cat Roundabout Improvements Archived 12 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine – the Highways Agency
  5. ^ As of 25 June 2013, the HA web page does not provide engineering drawings. Draft drawings are available at Black Cat roundabout works start 23 June - 14 December Archived 18 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Route unveiled for major new road and junction at Black Cat". Highways England. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b Morby, Aaron (23 March 2021). "Skanska clinches £507m A428 dualling job". Construction Enquirer. Includes artist's impression of planned replacement interchange.
  8. ^ Highways England (16 September 2021). "National Highways announces new road numbers for A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme" (Press release).

External links[edit]