£12m plans drawn up to improve busy roundabout in Stevenage

Thousands of vehicles can pass through the busy A602 Gunnels Wood Road roundabout in Stevenage during a typical ‘rush hour’

Thousands of vehicles can pass through the busy A602 Gunnels Wood Road roundabout in Stevenage during a typical ‘rush hour’ - Credit: Google Street View

Highways chiefs are drawing up plans for a £12m remodelling of a busy roundabout in Stevenage.

Thousands of vehicles can pass through the busy A602 Gunnels Wood Road roundabout during a typical ‘rush hour’.

Before the pandemic, motorists could be stuck in queues around the junction and delayed at peak times.

Highways chiefs have estimated that if nothing is done, the road network will ‘lock up’ by 2031.

Plans have been drawn up for a so-called ‘hamburger’ style alteration – where south-bound traffic from Gunnels Wood Road would cut through the roundabout and turn right onto the A602 Broadhall Way.

The project – being driven by the county council, the local enterprise council and Stevenage Borough Council – has already been awarded around £2m for preparatory work.

Subject to further funding, work could begin at the site by the end of next year.

Most Read

The ongoing work was presented to members of the county council’s highways and transport cabinet panel, on November 4.

Councillors were told that according to the Stevenage Town Investment Plan, the capacity of the road network –  and this roundabout in particular – is a ‘critical constraint’ to short-term future employment growth in the Gunnels Wood Road employment area.

It says that increasing its capacity – either through physical roadwork intervention, investment or ‘modal shift’ – has the potential to unlock a significant increase in investment.

That, it says, will lead to growth in high value jobs, particularly in science and technology – as well as improving safety, journey times and the flow of cyclists and pedestrians.

The Gunnels Wood Road employment area already accommodates around 19,000 employees, working for 300 businesses that include GSK, Airbus, MBDA and Fujitsu.

According to the report presented to the cabinet panel, that is expected to increase by 1,750 within 10 years – with potential growth of up to 5,000 jobs, if investment in cell and gene therapy continues to grow.

At the meeting, councillors were told Stevenage Borough Council had submitted a business case for the roundabout alterations to government for £10,107.

But officers indicated that that particular ‘levelling up’ was not thought to have been successful, although Stevenage were said to be seeking clarification on the status of the bid.

Councillors were told that alternative sources of funding would now be explored.

The report says the scheme will benefit all users of the highway network in Stevenage, but warns that it is ‘not a silver bullet and will deliver finite capacity’.

Once that capacity is used up, says the report, sustainable transport options will need to be brought forward via wider programmes of work and planning applications.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter