Opinion divided on £4.5m A1(M) improvement work in Welwyn
- Credit: Archant
Multi-million pound work on the A1(M) at Welwyn has been cautiously welcomed – but concerns still remain.
The £4.5m scheme, at Junction 6 to ease congestion at the junction is almost complete and road Highways England promised motorists would “experience the benefits to the new road layout”.
But Welwyn West ward councillor Sandra Kyriakides said selfish drivers and persistent problems for emergency services had taken the gloss off the multi-million pound project.
She told the WHT: “During the rush hour the section between Junction 6 and the access road on the other side of the Clock development is still jammed solid.
“This still results in a lot of people using the Welwyn exit to try to bypass some of the traffic jam by driving through the village and rejoining the Al(M) at the Clock access.
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“This not only causes congestion through the village, but also at the Clock roundabout.”
She added: “I have witnessed several incidences of selfish drivers ignoring the new system and trying to join the A1(M)lane at the Welwyn exit - thus causing a hold up in both lanes.
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“Presumably this becomes a police matter, but, with our current overstretched and reduced police coverage of the area, I feel certain it is unlikely that anything will be done about it.”
Cllr Kyriakides said her “overriding concern” was over “the difficulties during the rush hour for emergency services”.
“If someone is unlucky enough to need an ambulance from Welwyn to the Lister Hospital between 4.30pm and 6pm, they could have a problem,” she told the WHT.
Another Welwyn West councillor, Mandy Perkins, said: “I can only speak as someone who exits the A1(M) at junction 6 northbound.
“In my experience it is much, much better, as long as people don’t go down the inside lane to cut in, especially coming home in evening rush hour.”
The work which started in December has seen the existing northbound carriageway and slip roads improved as well as a new road surface, new road markings, new safety fencing and improved drainage.
Highways England project manager Mark Saunders said the works had “removed the bottleneck within the junction where lanes two and three used to merge”.
He added: “The on-slip has been extended to give a greater distance for traffic to merge with existing A1 traffic.”