Update: 'Widen A1(M) or face chaos'

PUBLISHED: 15:46 09 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:24 26 October 2009

Gridlocked: The motorway already struggles to cope with traffic levels

Gridlocked: The motorway already struggles to cope with traffic levels

THE capacity of the A1(M) 'has to be increased'. Those are the words of county councillor Derrick Ashley, executive member for planning, external relations and waste. And he believes the best way to do this would be to widen the two-lane motorway between

THE capacity of the A1(M) "has to be increased".

Those are the words of county councillor Derrick Ashley, executive member for planning, external relations and waste.

And he believes the best way to do this would be to widen the two-lane motorway between junction six, for Welwyn, and junction eight for north Stevenage.

Cllr Ashley said: "We all know the A1(M) is a source of major congestion at the moment, particularly at peak times.

"We have a real problem of people rat running around the A1(M) because it is over capacity.

"With all the additional developments being proposed in Welwyn Hatfield traffic can only get worse."

He refers to Welwyn Hatfield's requirement under the East of England Plan to provide some 10,000 extra homes by 2021.

Borough councillor Mandy Perkins agreed more homes north of Welwyn would have a "major impact" on traffic.

And although Cllr Perkins admitted something needed to be done to ease congestion, she also acknowledged the concerns of those residents who might suffer if the road is widened.

"It has to be dealt with as sympathetically as possible for the residents that will be affected," she said.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has long been in favour of widening the A1(M).

He said: "We're losing our emergency services at the QE2 and the motorway narrows to two lanes causing huge delays.

"It's a dangerous situation."

He added: "Labour cancelled the project to widen the A1(M) after all the homes nearby had already been purchased by the last Conservative government.

"This [current] Government has now sold those homes.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

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.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times