By Marc Lyons
PLANS TO BUILD THE TUNNEL
Following a fatal accident to a child in the centre of Hatfield in 1972, there became widespread fear by local residents for the safety of pedestrians in this ‘New Town’. The A1(M) has not always run under Hatfield, rather until 1986, it ran through Hatfield. This high amount of traffic was taking its toll on the ‘New Town’ of Hatfield, so when a fatality to a child occurred because of this road, it would only be a matter of time before Welwyn Hatfield District Council would produce a scheme to change it. The proposal for a tunnel to take the A1 (M) under Hatfield was a £100 million scheme, run by Tarmac National Construction. Their plans had a programme for construction of a 1150 meter long cut and cover tunnel taking the A1(M) under Hatfield as opposed to through it.
PLANS IN ACTION
‘We first got serious in 1968’ says County Surveyor Michael Hardy. ‘It took nine years of planning’ to revitalise a tired quarter of the town. The tunnel is a traditional reinforced concrete two bay portal; each bay measures 19 metres across, enough room for three lanes, a hard shoulder and walking service ducts each side. Starting in the spring of 1983, the programme needed seventy road diversions during the total of three years it took to build the motorway through the town, leaving 25 acres overhead for redevelopment.
IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE
The selection of the Carroll Group as its private sector partner became a very important move to develop upon the 25 acres overhead. The New Civil Engineer highlighted in 1985 that, ‘even more valuable than the motorway underpass is the estimated £45 million land redevelopment overhead.’ By its completion in 1986 it would not be long before the land overhead would be developed upon. (See ‘The Galleria’).
Sources Used New Civil Engineer, Urban Renewal Keys in to Hatfield Tunnel, 21st March 1985, pp.14-8.
- Michael F Hardy, Hatfield People and Traffic, (Welwyn Hatfield District Council, 1972).