26 Jan 2009

Major cycleway scheme to start – a final link in the chain for St Albans (NCN Route 6/61)

Hertfordshire County Council News Release: 21/01/2009 PR 8084
Major cycleway scheme to start – a final link in the chain for St Albans

A major project will get underway next week (January 26) to complete the National Cycle Network in St Albans by linking it up with existing routes to the north, south and east of the city centre.

When the 4.4 mile (7.1km) connecting route is finished, it will enable local residents to cycle to the local railway stations and the city centre itself – or to the surrounding countryside for leisure activities. This is in line with the county and district councils’ strategies to encourage cycling as a sustainable means of transport.

The route, which will mainly make use of signed sections on existing roads, has been finalised following extensive consultation work and discussion with the St Albans Cycle Forum. It will carry on from the existing section on Watford Road, going northwards through St Julians, the city centre, Townsend and New Greens to Harpenden Road. It will also link to the Alban Way cycle track, which provides an off-road link to Hatfield.

Work will need to be done at the following locations to improve safety for cyclists using the route:

• Watford Road junction with Robert Avenue
• Watling Street junction with Vesta Avenue
• Path between Tavistock Avenue and Abbots Avenue West
• Berners Drive junction with Abbots Avenue West
• Path between Cottonmill Lane and Berners Drive
• Keyfield Terrace
• Path across Bernards Heath between Townsend Drive and Harpenden Road
• Path between Batchwood Drive and Therfield Road
• Path between New Greens Avenue and Harpenden Road.

Most of this work is due to start on January 26 and to be completed by the end of March, apart from improvement work on the existing path through Bernards Heath (which is owned by the Althorp Estate). This is due to take place in March, subject to a legal agreement with the landowner.

Hertfordshire Highways have worked in partnership with St Albans City and District Council and Groundwork Hertfordshire to design a route that will be in keeping with the environment of the Heath while providing better access for users.

Funding for the work is being met from the county council’s Local Transport Plan, plus a landfill tax grant obtained by Groundwork Hertfordshire which is being used to part-fund the work on Bernards Heath.

“We’ve long been committed to the provision of safe, signed, convenient cycle routes that enable people to travel in and between our town centres quickly and easily just by hopping on a bike, so we’re delighted to see work getting underway with this major partnership scheme for St Albans,” said Stuart Pile, Executive Member for Highways Transport and Rural Affairs.

“As well as the environmental benefits of cycling, there are also proven health benefits, especially if you do it regularly. We anticipate that the work will be completed by the spring – when hopefully people will be keen to try leaving the car at home and go by bike.”

Residents living near the project area have received letters detailing the scheme and information boards have been erected at each site.

Localised traffic management is required in various locations with traffic signals to be used during restricted working hours on Watford Road, Watling Street, London Road and Harpenden Road.

For more detailed information visit

Thanks to John Metcalf for passing this release to us.

STACC have been involved in the consultation for this route for a number of years. The final choice of route and some details of design were not those preferred by STACC. Some aspects of our preference would have been safer, more practical and cheaper.
Changes in Herts Highways personnel during the process were not helpful.
Despite all that, we look forward to speedy completion - after which you can add your own comments here.

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