PM: Hard shoulder of A1(M) set to be open to traffic

THE hard shoulder of the northbound A1(M) between Welwyn and Stevenage is set to be opened to traffic, according to the Prime Minister.

David Cameron made the annoucement on Sunday as the Conservative Party Conference got underway in Birmingham.

From 2014 traffic will run on the hard shoulder between junction 6 for Welwyn and the Pottersheath overbridge to ease congestion towards Stevenage and North Herts.

The news was welcomed by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, who said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and I am delighted with the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government is going to implement hard shoulder running to improve traffic flow on our section of the A1(M).

“I knew we were close to getting the deal and it has been so hard keeping the news quiet, but we had to make sure there would be no last minute hiccups.

“I know how tense the final days of any major infrastructure project are, as I have already secured over �280million of infrastructure investment from the government for our local schools, hospital, housing and jobs.

Mr McPartland added: “I’m very proud we have managed to make this a reality as I know this has been a major issue for the last twenty years and we now have a start date of 2014.

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“There really is a light at the end of the tunnel now for all of us who have sat in traffic jams over the years, however this is just the start.

“This project will reduce the delays experienced on the northbound A1(M) between junction 6 (Welwyn) and 7 (Stevenage).

“The scheme will convert the existing hard shoulder at, and north of, the slip road at Junction 6 into a running lane to just north of Pottersheath overbridge.

“This will also include the installation of one gantry spanning both carriageways, two variable message signs, in-road loops CCTV and speed enforcement cameras”.

“If local people judge the scheme to be a success then we will have the momentum and evidence we need to successfully campaign for hard shoulder running to be extended further northbound and southbound. We finally have the start we needed and I am proud to have helped make this a reality”.

For more local reaction, pick up a copy of the Welwyn Hatfield Times, available from Wednesday.