Hertfordshire County Council has agreed that a section of the A5138 should be reclassified following the construction of a road, planned as part of the strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) development.

The new section of road would link the A414 North Orbital Road, near Napsbury, to the existing A5183 Radlett Road, close to the point where it crosses the M25.

Councillors say it effectively bypass a section of the existing A5183 which runs through Park Street and Frogmore.

On Monday, November 6, a meeting of the council’s cabinet agreed that the existing stretch of road should be reclassified as a C-class road "at the appropriate time".

Executive member for highways and transport Cllr Phil Bibby told the meeting it should divert heavy traffic associated with the controversial rail freight away from the existing road.

He added that use of existing roads would be monitored once the bypass was open – when speed limits or weight restrictions could be considered, if needed.

“Our aim is to make sure that that stretch of road is a residential thoroughfare only – and not for heavy goods vehicles going to and from the freight terminal,” he said.

“It is fair to say there is a great deal of local concern over the level of traffic that will be generated by the rail freight interchange.

“But this reclassification will, I hope, alleviate these concerns, given that it is designed to reduce traffic volume through the villages.” 

Work on the design of the new stretch of road is ongoing – with construction not due to start in 2024.

Executive member for resources and performance Cllr Bob Deering welcomed the planned new section of road.

“These changes to the road system will amount to a bypass for Park Street, which I am sure will be very very welcome,” he said.

“And the down-grading of the road is very significant. We are going from an A road – not just to a B road  – but to a C road. And that is really quite emphatic –  and I am very pleased to see this.”

Leader of the council Cllr Richard Roberts acknowledged the level of opposition to the plans for the SRFI, on the former Radlett Aerodrome site, but said the new stretch of road was one of the "potentially huge" benefits for residents.

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“The rail freight interchange site is not without its controversy,” said Cllr Roberts.

"While it is controversial, some of the up-sides and some of the benefits to residents living in the area are potentially huge – and this is one of them.

“To build the bypass around that avoids Frogmore and Park Street is a massive benefit to those living there.

“And as this becomes a de-facto quiet residential road that will be the kind of mitigation that we were calling for all the way through this process.”

Cllr Roberts referred to mitigations that "will run to potentially about a half a billion pounds of investment by Segro and its partners as they develop the rail freight site with its commercial opportunity".