No road blocks ahead for A1(M) smart motorway plan, says Stevenage MP
PUBLISHED: 08:18 02 February 2017
Construction of a new 'smart motorway' which will widen the A1(M) between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage is on schedule to begin in 2019/20 with design work on the project now underway.
The £8 million a mile scheme which is designed to ease congestion on a section of road that can be a key bottleneck at rush hours, will see the two lane section of road widened to three, plus a hard shoulder, between junctions 6 and 8.
The project is being backed by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland as a keystone of developing the town’s economy.
The Tory MP met with Highways England last week to be briefed on the project’s progress.
He told the Comet: “I have met with Highways England several times to discuss the scheme,
“I was delighted to secure the funding for it in the first ever Road Investment Strategy back in autumn 2014.
“A huge amount of work has already been undertaken by HE, as they will be responsible for the full design and delivery of the scheme.
“I have now seen the latest plans that have been developed from this exhaustive preliminary planning work and we are very close to beginning the detailed design work. It is important that the planning and design stages are as comprehensive as possible, because it will prevent any delays when construction begins.
“I am grateful to Highways England for the work they have done and take into consideration a number of points I have raised on behalf of local people. The latest progress meeting was an exciting discussion as the scheme is starting to take shape.
“It did raise a few more questions, but by working closely together we are making excellent progress and are on schedule for construction in 2019/20.”
Kevin Fitzgerald of CPRE Hertfordshire which campaigns to protect the county’s rural environment, said the widening scheme is long overdue.
“Everybody knows that when you have cars stuck in traffic jams it’s worse for the environment and emissions.
“It’s long overdue. The impact on the environment will be limited and when you consider the growth in population, it is needed.
“Compared to the fact that they might still develop land across the motorway to the west of Stevenage, the impact of widening the A1 will be limited.”