Work to upgrade the A602 between Watton-at-Stone and Tonwell has commenced, with project partners Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Hertfordshire County Council marking the milestone on site with contractor Interserve Construction Limited.

The work kick-starts the final phase of infrastructure improvements to the A602 as part of a wider project to improve the route between Stevenage and Ware and increase its resilience to growing traffic numbers.

The work forms part of Hertfordshire’s Local Transport Plan, and will bring this strategic east-west link up to current highway standards, improve journey time reliability, and reduce delays caused by vehicles turning right from Ware Road.

Planned improvements include enlarging the roundabout at the junction of A119 Hertford Road with A602 Ware Road to provide additional capacity for traffic, as well as realigning the A602 Ware Road from Heath Mount School to Stoney Hills junction.

A further planning application for a cycle track between Sacombe Pound and Stoney Hills has recently been submitted in line with Hertfordshire County Council’s Sustainability Strategy, with the aim of removing the severance the A602 creates for cyclists accessing local communities either side of the road.

Improvements have already been completed as part of the wider A602 project at the Hertford Road junction, Anchor Lane roundabout, Westmill Road, and the junction with the A10.

The A602 improvements are funded by a £20m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire LEP and funding from Hertfordshire County Council.

Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure and Regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP said: “Our investment is facilitating the vital work needed to improve the safety and reliability of this persistently busy section of Hertfordshire’s highway network. The planned interventions will help future-proof the route as Hertfordshire’s population increases and its economy grows.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “The Government is investing £20 million in this project through the Local Growth Fund and I am pleased to see work is getting underway to improve safety and reduce delays on this busy route.

“Once complete, these improvements will ensure better connectivity across Hertfordshire, supporting the community and allowing the local economy to grow and thrive.”

Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “I am pleased that the works to improve this section of the A602 Ware Road are underway. The A602 is a key route between the A1(M) and the A10, as well as an important road for local traffic, so the improvements we’re planning will make a real difference.

"The tight bends and traffic turning right both cause delays and fixing these problems will help traffic flow more freely and safely. The county council’s investment in this scheme will keep Hertfordshire moving and ensure our highway network is fit for the future.”

Wayne Howell, Divisional Director, Interserve Construction, said: “The team at Interserve Construction are delighted to begin work on the A602 in Hertfordshire following our recent success in securing highway infrastructure projects in Suffolk and Thurrock.

“The contract with Hertfordshire County Council is a testament to our capabilities and track record in delivering road infrastructure projects for local authorities and Highways England around the UK and our work on the A602 will bring real economic benefits and make driving in Hertfordshire safer and improve journey times.”

The works are expected to take around 18 months to complete.

Further information about the A602 Improvements Scheme can be found at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/A602.