Hertford town centre suffers from a number of traffic problems, many caused by the A414 running through the centre of the town.
In 2002 the local authorities addressed long standing problems at the Bluecoats roundabout and the junctions of Mill Road and Ware Road by installing traffic lights. Programming of the traffic lights gave greater priority to traffic on the Ware Road (over the A414), especially buses, joining the A414 from the Ware Road. The previous configuration of the Bluecoats Roundabout allowed traffic on the A414 and Relief Road to dominate, causing long tailbacks along the Ware Road. This in turn caused congestion in Mill Road during the rush-hour.
Proposals included in the Hertford & Ware Urban Transport Plan include a scheme for linking all traffic signals in the town to optimise traffic flows.
Changes in land use have meant that greater volumes of traffic have been using Mead Lane in recent years.
New residential and business premises have brought Mean Lane and Mill Road close to capacity, with congestion concentrated around the evening rush-hour.
The Hertford & Ware Urban Transport Plan suggests changing the road layout by Hertford East Station a creating a new link road from the station to premises east of Marshgate Drive. This would also include a passenger transport facilities on the former sidings.
Old Cross Junction
The busy junction in Hertford's Old Cross became an issue when Hertfordshire County Council imposed a £50,000 traffic-light scheme on the site without consultation. Since then there has been much debate on the subject, much of it centreing on the resulting traffic congestion around the junction. HCC claim that pedestrian safety lay at the heart of their decision to install traffic control at Old Cross but there had been little public discussion before this. The lack of consultation was a major issue following the installation of the measure and this point remains a contentious issue. The authority claimed that it would cost £95,000 to change the arrangements at the junction, almost twice the cost of the installation, and some regard this is as a blackmail ploy by the authority to make their opponents think twice. Despite two public exhibitions in 1998 and 1999, both of which were inconclusive, there are still no plans to modify the existing arrangements.
East Herts District Council is currently working on a District Plan intended to deliver sustainable development and shape the future of th district up to 2031. As part of that plan, the council is in regular consultation with Hertfordshire County Council regarding infrastructure matters. The County Council has raised particular concerns about the cumulative impacts of development proposed in Plan on the A414 route throuigh Hertford.
The County Council is developing a new Countywide Transportation Model (COMET), which will provide an evidence base to test the growth scenarios across Hertfordshire, including those outlined in the emerging District Plan.
Traffic Management in Hertford has always been a controversial issue. This is partly due to the fact that the A414, which runs through the town, forms part of an outer alternative to the M25 London Orbital Motorway. Whenever the M25 is blocked between junctions 23 and 25, the volume of traffic passing though the town increases dramatically, leading to long delays. The releif road, which was controversially driven through the centre of the town in the sixties, forms part of this route and is where most of the delays occur, leading to vehicles using the town centre as a bypass to the bypass! Studies show that more than half the traffic using the town is simply passing through and initiatives have been suggested as to how to deal with this, although an outer bypass has been rejected by both residents and the local authority on ecological grounds.
This article was last updated on 11th December 2015 to include information about future planning.