A bridge carrying a popular local bridleway over the A120 bypass has opened, meaning an end to long diversions.
The newly built Mill Mound Bridge will now carry the bridleway over the new A120 Bypass, as well as providing local farm access and benefits to local wildlife, allowing animals such as deer to cross the A-road safely. The public right of way has been closed for safety reasons while construction work has been taking place, with a long diversion route in place for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
The opening of the bridge is a key milestone in the construction of the new bypass, as it is the final major structure along the route.
Members of the project team gathered on site to mark the opening of the bridge on Tuesday 3 August.
Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I was delighted to be able to join the project team on site to formally open this key structure along the route. I would like to thank our contractor, GRAHAM, and all of the wider team for their continued efforts in ensuring this project has kept moving despite the unprecedented circumstances they have found themselves working in during the pandemic.
“I would also like to extend my thanks to the local community for their continued support and patience. I’m sure that the reopening of this popular local bridleway will be very welcome locally, and I’m pleased that we’re making good progress towards opening the new bypass this winter.”
Dave Woodcock Contracts Director, GRAHAM (Civil Engineering division) said “The GRAHAM highways team continues to deliver some fantastic projects across the UK and we were absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to work with all stakeholders on delivering the A120 bypass and flood alleviation scheme. The project will make a hugely positive difference to people who live nearby and to those visiting or passing through the area.
"We are pleased with progress so far and the completion of the new Mill Mound Bridge is an important milestone in this fantastic project. We are now looking forward to delivering the next stage of our work which, once complete, will bring a great many safety, environmental and general road user benefits to Hertfordshire. I am often very proud of the work that our team undertakes and for how they rise to the challenge - delivering safely and well both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new 3.9km bypass, to the north of Little Hadham, will alleviate congestion along the route caused by the Little Hadham traffic lights and provide more reliable journey times. As part of the scheme, new road embankments along the River Ash and Albury Tributary will act as flood defences to reduce risk to the village and other nearby communities.
The scheme will improve air quality and also ultimately benefit the county’s economy, with quicker transport links to Stansted Airport among the long-term advantages for Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire County Council have worked in partnership with the Environment Agency to develop the scheme which includes flood alleviation measures.
The scheme is supported by Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and money secured by the LEP from the Department for Transport, as part of a wider funding package with Hertfordshire County Council and the Environment Agency.
Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure and Regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “With the opening of Mill Mound Bridge, we are one step closer to completing this vital infrastructure scheme set to benefit local residents, businesses and commuters for years to come. The Little Hadham bypass is vital to future-proofing this key section of Hertfordshire’s road network to accommodate further growth and we are delighted with the progress made to date despite the challenges of the pandemic.”
Despite excellent progress, social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have had an impact on the overall efficiency and productivity of key construction activities on site. Following a detailed review, Hertfordshire County Council and partners have revised the expected completion date to winter 2021/22.
With the opening of Mill Mound Bridge, we are one step closer to completing this vital infrastructure scheme set to benefit local residents, businesses and commuters for years to come.