Hope for Welwyn drivers - but patience needed

Cllr Richard Smith

Cllr Richard Smith - Credit: Archant

Action will be taken to ease congested roads in the Welwyn area, but residents must be patient, a veteran village politician has urged.

County Councillor Richard Smith has been pressing County Hall for some time about the roundabout still often known as The Clock, by The northbound slip road of Junction 6 of the A1(M) motorway.

The roundabout is very congested during peak hours, and residents of the Danesbury area in particular are desperate for an improvement.

Although a previous traffic survey failed to generate any improvement work, Councillor Smith draws hope from a new strategy, known as the Growth and Transport Plan for the A1 Corridor.

Officers have told him that in April, there will be a further survey of traffic on the relevant roads - the B197, A1000, B1000, and B656 - so County Hall experts can suggest a solution.

But whatever solution is proposed can not even start before 2019, as it will be coordinated with conversion of that stretch of the A1(M) into a “smart motorway”.

Councillor Smith said: “It is a huge problem, and people want something to happen tomorrow. It won’t happen as quickly as people want, but it will happen.”

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He also hopes the A1(M) improvement work will ease congestion on the B197 by deterring rush hour traffic from leaving the motorway - but warns this will not be finished until 2022.

A County Hall spokeswoman said: “The plan will be founded on robust evidence, which will be used to identify and confirm the most significant current and future growth and transport challenges on the A1 Corridor and develop and justify improvement schemes.

“It will be able to look at the parallel corridors and identify a package of measures to encourage more sustainable travel and deter rat- running.”