New A120 Little Hadham bypass opens to traffic
The first traffic travelled on the £40m A120 Little Hadham bypass on Wednesday afternoon (Dec 22) – almost two-and-a-half years after construction began.
The new road was officially opened by Hertfordshire County Council leader Cllr Richard Roberts and MP Sir Oliver Heald, whose North East Hertfordshire constituency includes the village.
The ceremony came 11 days after more than 500 adults, children and dogs got the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the 2.4-mile (3.9km) bypass before it opened to cars, motorbikes, vans and lorries.
As well as easing congestion at the Little Hadham traffic lights, the scheme will improve flood defences for the village, thanks to new embankments along the River Ash and Albury Tributary.
To complete the route, which runs north of the village along the boundary with Albury parish, contractor GRAHAM was responsible for verges, roundabout junctions, bridges, embankments, landscaping and associated engineering over an area of 100 acres (40.5 hectares).
Roundabouts link the bypass to the existing A120 at Hadham Park and Hadham Lodge on the outskirts of Bishop's Stortford in the east and between The Ash and Albury End Road junction in the west.
Cllr Roberts said: "I'm delighted the new A120 bypass is now open for motorists, alleviating the well-known congestion in Little Hadham and reducing the flood risk to the village and surrounding communities.
"The opening will create a greener, cleaner and more pleasant environment for the village, as well as improving the road network in the area, better connecting our people to the places they live, work and learn.
"On behalf of the county council, I would like to thank all of you in the local community and businesses for your continued support and patience during the construction period."
Sir Oliver said: "I'm delighted this road is open for Christmas. It is a great project which will improve road safety, help businesses and reduce the risk of flooding. It is £40m well spent by the Government with county council and Environment Agency support."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: "I wish to congratulate Hertfordshire County Council in overseeing development of this important scheme which will provide so many benefits locally and regionally. I also wish to congratulate GRAHAM for achieving the construction in the face of the many disruptions that have occurred, including Covid and adverse weather.
"The scheme is an excellent example of how Government funding to improve infrastructure can benefit so many people.
"It will remove the bottleneck in the village, thereby improving journey times for all who use the A120, as well as greatly improving the overall wellbeing of residents in Little Hadham with the removal of the long lines of stationary traffic. Including flood defences in the scheme will also make their lives much safer. This shows what a joined-up approach can achieve."
During construction, the project team uncovered a Roman settlement and a rare Hertfordshire puddingstone dating back to prehistoric times. The stone now has pride of place in Little Hadham.