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Little Hadham bypass: Over 500 people and dogs give new A120 relief road a test run ahead of its official opening



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More than 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new A120 Little Hadham bypass before it opens to traffic.

The 2.4-mile (3.9km) road, which is due to officially open next Wednesday (December 22), will alleviate congestion caused by the village's traffic lights and provide more reliable journey times.

As part of the £30m joint scheme by highways authority Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and the Environment Agency, new road embankments have been installed along the River Ash and Albury Tributary to act as flood defences.

Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673438)
Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673438)

On Saturday, there was a chance for locals to learn more about the scheme, with information on the construction process, Roman archaeological findings and how the wildlife and environment were protected.

A large puddingstone, weighing around 3.5 tonnes and looking like a Christmas pudding, which was discovered during the construction, now takes pride of place in Little Hadham.

Construction started in July 2019 and was expected to be finished in early 2021. Cllr Phil Bibby, HCC's executive member for highways and transport, said: "This multi-million-pound scheme, like many significant projects across the country, has been hit hard over the last 18 months.

Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673442)
Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673442)

"Covid-19, along with significant adverse weather, have provided big challenges for the team. During the construction period, there have been six ‘one in 10-year’ extreme weather events.

"While the opening is later than initially planned, the continued efforts and determination to get us to where we are today should be commended.’’

The scheme also aims to improve air quality and ultimately benefit the county’s economy, with quicker transport links to Stansted Airport among the long-term advantages.

Darsha Gill, the Environment Agency's area flood and coastal risk manager for Hertfordshire and North London, said: "The communities of Little Hadham and Hadham Ford are vulnerable to flooding from three watercourses. The proposal for the bypass provided the opportunity to incorporate flood alleviation measures, making a flood scheme for the village affordable.

Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673444)
Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673444)

"I’m delighted to say the measures will reduce the risk of river flooding to all 72 properties currently at risk in the village to less than a 1% (1 in 100) annual chance flood event.’’

Hertfordshire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) invested £8.26m from the Local Growth Fund and helped secure a further £27.4m from the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of a wider funding package with the county council and Environment Agency.

Neil Rutledge, board member and deputy chair of the LEP, said: "From the very beginning, we knew the Little Hadham bypass was vital if we as a county were to future-proof this key section of Hertfordshire's road network to accommodate further growth.

Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673446)
Over 500 adults, children and dogs enjoyed the chance to walk, jog and cycle along the new section of the A120 (53673446)

"Having a business-led, local response to recover and rebuild the economy has been and remains critical. LEPs have not just directed funds but have also facilitated serious levels of private investment into local areas.

"As this scheme demonstrates, the LEP is a catalyst for growth, working with local partners to pursue common levelling-up goals and ensuring everyone in our communities can benefit from good growth."

Cyclists ready for the off on the new A120 Little Hadham bypass
Cyclists ready for the off on the new A120 Little Hadham bypass

Construction and civil engineering contractor GRAHAM was the bypass's principal contractor.

Leo Martin, managing director of its civil engineering division, said: "This project will make a hugely positive difference to people who live nearby and to those visiting or passing through the area. Once open, this scheme will bring a great many safety, environmental and general road user benefits to Hertfordshire.

"I'm very proud of how our team rose to the challenge, both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We were able to employ more than 20 people from the locality on site, resulting in 14 full-time jobs.

"I would like to thank all involved on this project, which has been an example of how contractors, designers and clients can work together in a highly collaborative manner to reach mutual goals.’’

READ ALSO Contractors relocate Roman snails as part of £40m A120 project

READ ALSO New hedgerow protects bats from Little Hadham A120 bypass

READ ALSO Roman cemetery and coins and Iron Age homes unearthed by A120 archaeologists

READ ALSO 3.5-tonne Hertfordshire puddingstone unearthed during A120 bypass work given pride of place in Little Hadham

A120 bypass plans (53686812)
A120 bypass plans (53686812)


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