Why is a new bypass suggested for Hertford?

Posted on 6th December, 2018

Gasgoyne Way around Hertford town centre is a rush hour bottleneck on the A414, and is forecast to carry increasing volumes of traffic in future.  Hertfordshire County Council is consulting on its ideas for the A414 corridor and for a surface bypass to take the through traffic, supposedly freeing up Gasgoyne Way for local traffic and enabling several public transport options.  See the HCC website for details.  A southern route for the bypass is preferred, since it would allow shorter journey times for most through traffic.  A tunnel is thought to be too expensive.  Green Belt land will inevitably be lost to the new road, and if new junctions were provided then this would offer developers new sites for more new housing, and Hertford would grow further.

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Comments (6)

This document overlooks a major option if a southern route is chosen. The junction with the A10 at Hoddesdon connecting to the Dinant Link Road is not mentioned. This was originally conceived as part of an infrastructere project and the link road is underutilized. The junction would provide strong access to the A10 to take A414 traffic up to the existing A414 junction at Hailey. The junction itself is clearly over engineered for its current use and only service one link road, leaving plenty of access to the west for a by-pass to connect with it, and perhaps also providing 'straight through' lanes for at least west-bound traffic if not both directions.
I have read the consultation document. I believe it comes to certain conclusions prematurely and have the following comments:

- The conclusion (p241/p260) that a southern rather than northern bypass is appropriate should not be accepted as a given at this stage and without more detailed route plans and detailed consultation. The modeling mentioned is not show and equally it should be asked if the modelling up to date and takes in to account things such as sat nav and google maps.

- The options for an eastern conclusion to the bypass are too restrictive .

1. Rush Green - Any conceivable routing to connect with this roundabout would either pass through Balls Park, a valuable local resource, OR route south of Balls Park and cut through in the region of London Road, most probably at the cost of Foxholes Farm, which would separate the village of Hertford Heath from Hertford. This could also virtually encircle the village of Hertford Heath with duel carriage way roads on three sides.

It would also place another major road running almost parallel with the current A414, a planning abomination.

This junction would continue to encourage parallel traffic traveling north through Hailey from the Broxbourne towns.

This roundabout is already an accident hotspot and major congestion issue due the queuing to the petrol station and Macdonalds. This is well documented.

2. Hailey Junction
Any conceivable routing would either route south of Balls Park and cut through in the region of London Road, most probably at the cost of Foxholes Farm, separating Hertford Heath from Hertford. This could also virtually encircle the village of Hertford Heath with duel carriage way roads on three sides. This would also route in parallel to the existing A10 - two duel carriageways next to each other. If routed to the south of Hertford Heath, any conceivable routing would also have to run in parallel to the A10 - an unnecessary overload of major roads in one place.
An earlier consultation revealed that a high proportion of A414 turning traffic was to or from County Hall. The date of opening a bypass has been offered as 2030 or thereabouts and it would have a useful life for cost benefit calculations of many years thereafter. Can it be guaranteed that Hertfordshire County Council will in 2030 and for many years thereafter be based on the County Hall site at the present employment density? Put another way, is it certain that a County Council will survive (as opposed to a division of the County into Unitary Authorities) with comparable employment numbers? and on the County Hall site rather than some cheaper or more modern base? If so, by what route would traffic to and from County Hall site flow? B158 roundabout as at present? Via Horns Mill? Or?

Some emphasis is given to “sustainable” transport. Why does this need a bypass (which on all historic experience would merely increase the total number of private vehicle journeys)? Why are these measures not already being activated? Might they be effective enough to reduce the case for a bypass? Or is talk of “sustainable” measures just a smokescreen?
If the discussion is of a proposal “in principle” how can any valid idea be formed about cost and about environmental impact?
The cost however, including, as presumably it must, a river crossing and a rail crossing, will be large. As statements say that it is necessary because of housing developments along the A414 axis, what proportion of the cost will be paid by developers who are benefitting or will benefit from it?
One statement said it would enable “more” housing development in Hertford. Does this mean more than is already proposed? And if so, should this not be openly stated (especially as this would forfeit some of the support the proposal has received)?
There has been a tendency for bypasses to attract development right up to the
bypass, a la Royston , a la Buntingford. What assurances can be given that this will not happen in Hertford?
How can the Green Belt south of Hertford be adequately protected?
The introductory 6th December post speculates "if new junctions are provided then this would offer developers new sites for more new housing". However the County Councils Consultation report says "A bypass would most likely route between a new or enhanced junction on the A414 to the west of Hertford (potentially between the B195 Birchall Lane and Hertford) and the A414 or A10 to the east of Hertford." and "It is assumed the bypass will comprise a 70mph dual carriageway with no intermediate junctions." The new or enhanced junctions at either end would not be suitable as access to new housing estates.

I agree that traffic conditions on the A414 are very bad at times, but for most of the time the fact is that traffic flows freely. If people were not so constrained to travel at the same time, and if fewer children were taken to school by car, there would be much less need to increase road capacity.
If a bypass were built, I fear that planners would allow the town to expand to fill in all the space between the present built-up area and the line of the new road, so that the size and character of the town would change competely, and for the worse.