Stevenage and Welwyn: Renewed calls for A1(M) widening

For more than a decade, there have been calls to widen the A1(M) to three lanes between junction 6 at Welwyn and junction 7 at Stevenage. In March 2020, work was due to start on turning this section of the road into a smart motorway - meaning the hard shoulder would be used as an extra lane at certain times, as a way to ease traffic flow. However, amid safety concerns, all plans for smart motorways were put on hold pending a government review.

Last year, all these plans were cancelled, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing: "I pledged to stop the building of all new smart motorways, and I'm making good on that promise." Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland had supported the smart motorway plans for the A1(M), but Stevenage Borough Council had opposed them, with concerns about safety. Last week, Alex Clarkson, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, pledged to lobby for the widening of the A1(M) when he met with Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport.

He said: "Having grown up in Stevenage, I understand the challenges our commuters face every day.

If elected, I will tirelessly lobby ministers to ensure that we have the best commuting routes possible."

In support of the development, Phil Bibby, executive member for highways and transport at Hertfordshire County Council, added: "Rush hour congestion on the A1(M) has been intolerable for some time, and it is essential this is eased, particularly with the major housing developments and growth in the life sciences and other industries in Stevenage."