The New River Bridge in Essex Road, Hoddesdon has opened to road users on time following a 15-month build.

The key local infrastructure project provides a new, modern and resilient road link to improve access and safety for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians coming in and out of Hoddesdon Business Park and better connects businesses with the strategic highway network.

The New River Bridge has a design life of 125 years and is significantly stronger than the existing 60-year-old bridge it replaces, allowing for much larger loads to meet the needs of local businesses.

The old bridge - now closed to vehicles - previously served as the only access for HGVs despite its narrow road and pavement, resulting in frequent bottlenecks, with any incident requiring repairs having a major adverse impact on the business park.

Hoddesdon Business Park plays a significant role in providing local jobs and supporting the local economy. The 118-hectare site is one of the largest employment areas in the county and is home to major employers including Sainsbury’s and houses the Ambition Broxbourne Business Centre.

Phil Bibby, Cabinet Executive Member Highways and Environment at Hertfordshire County Council said: “We’re delighted that the project has completed on time and is now open to all road users. This is a true example of collaboration and strong partnership working, as we pulled together in the face of adversity and continued to deliver a vital scheme for the county.

“Local jobs are crucial to achieving sustainable growth and the new bridge will make it much easier to get to and from the Business Park, making it a much more attractive place for business. The scheme has significantly improved walking and cycling along and across the road in response to comments made by the community during the planning phase and in response to the County Council’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel and its associated benefits for public health and the environment. We would like to thank the local community and businesses for their continued support and patience during the construction.”

Councillor Lewis Cocking, Leader of Broxbourne Council said: “The Hoddesdon Business Park is one of the most important employment areas in the Borough. The improved access to the park will encourage new businesses to set up here, creating more jobs and better prospects for the Borough, and will allow existing businesses to grow and thrive.

“Full credit is given to the team working on the project for delivering on time and in full, particularly given the difficulties we have faced during the last year.”

Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure & Regeneration at Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The New River Bridge is vital to the continued success of Hoddesdon Business Park and to unlocking the town’s economic potential, providing new opportunities for businesses and local people. We are delighted that construction has progressed at pace despite the significant challenges posed by COVID-19 and are confident its opening will coincide with a new chapter of growth for the area post-pandemic.”

Jon Millar, Osborne Framework Manager, said: “We are delighted at Osborne to have been able to deliver such an important piece of Infrastructure for our client Hertfordshire County Council and their key stakeholders Broxbourne Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership. Delivering the project on time, to a high standard of quality whilst keeping the community informed and considered throughout is fundamental to a successful project such as this.”

Supporting the local community to continue to thrive and prosper has been at the heart of the New River Bridge project. Earlier last year, the project team swapped site work for schoolwork, taking part in a community volunteering day at St Catherine’s Church of England Primary School in Hoddesdon.

An army of volunteers from the County Council, contractor Osborne, suppliers Barao Construction and DGL Ltd, and design partner WSP joined staff and friends of the school and local businesses including Sainsbury’s to transform the school’s outdoor play areas. The team built exciting new play equipment mostly from recycled or repurposed materials and re-vamped existing facilities ready for the children’s return to school.
A vast landscaping and biodiversity plan also sits alongside this key infrastructure project. During March and April, over 130 new trees will be planted along with hundreds of square metres of woodland mix planting and wildflower seeding to support and enhance wildlife around the New River Bridge.

The scheme, developed by Hertfordshire County Council in conjunction with Broxbourne Borough Council, is supported by an £8.9m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), £1.47m from Hertfordshire County Council, and £400,000 of developer funding from Broxbourne Borough Council.

Improving conditions for sustainable modes of travel such as walking and cycling is a key objective within Hertfordshire County Council and Broxbourne District Council’s transport plans.

Visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/newriverbridge to find out more.