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Hawkshead Lane bridge begins to crack

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Cracks have appeared in the humpback road bridge at the western end of Hawkshead Lane. Engineers have examined the structure and say the bridge will have to be closed while repairs are carried out.

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A gap is developing between the edge of the wall and the road. There is also evidence of vehicles having hit the structure.

The North Mymms Green Belt Society has responded to the news by calling for an independent traffic survey to be carried out to assess whether the damage has been caused by the amount of traffic travelling to and from the Royal Veterinary College.

The RVC has plans to expand its site and the Green Belt Society says it is increasingly worried about the projected traffic along Hawkshead Lane.

Spokesman for the society, Bob Horrocks, says one option might be for an internal driveway from Swanland Road or Warrengate Road to the north of the RVC building and finishing up at the college.

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The wall on the river side of the bridge is beginning to break away.

“This would resolve the problem of RVC traffic going over the humpback bridge. It is alarming to hear of the cracks in the bridge. We need an independent survey of projected traffic flow and not rely only on the RVC's own assessment,” he says.

Five residents of Hawkshead Lane have written to the Highways Department and Planning Department at Welwyn Hatfield Council calling for action to save the bridge. They say they are concerned about heavy traffic using the residential area of Hawkshead lane and fear the size and number of vehicles using the lane is putting the bridge at risk.

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The central pillar of the bridge has several cracks at the waterline

One of them has suggested that a vehicle limit of 3 tonnes should be imposed. He also suggests a width restriction be introduced to ensure compliance although it was stressed that such a structure should be in keeping with the rural nature of the village. A "farmyard gate" style barrier has been suggested. Local residents also want width restrictions.

One local resident has e-mailed this site pointing out that a new Royal Vet College directional sign has been erected in Swanland Road within the past few days.

The sign directs traffic coming from J23 on the M25 and from the A1 to use the bridge and Hawkshead Lane. The correspondent, who didn’t want his name published, said the RVC should be pressured into directing traffic to leave the M25 at Junction 24 (Potters Bar) so it approaches the College via the eastern end of Hawkshead Lane, thereby avoiding using the weak bridge.

“One cannot blame visitors from outside the area travelling to the RVC, from using the route given to them by the College. The College is actively encouraging use of the bridge at present, with three separate signs between the South Mimms turn-off and Hawkshead Lane western end,” he wrote.

The RVC has two sets of plans submitted for approval.

S6/2000/39/FP is for the erection of new college building incorporation learning resource centre, reception and administrative offices, new vehicle access and car parking at Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead House, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield.

S6/1999/778/FP is for the construction of large animal hospital, clinical and diagnostic centre, and rehabilitation centre with associated hay barn and new vehicular access onto Hawkshead Lane at Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Little Heath, Potters Bar.

It is understood that S6/2000/39/FP is likely to be approved on March 9, the next council planning meeting, because it is a development within the existing site but S6/1999/778/FP is likely to take longer to approve.

The council says it will accept representations right up to the date of a meeting, not just within the statutory minimum time from publication of the formal notice.

The plans are also published on the RVC website, showing the area to be developed, drawings of the scale of the development and details of the case for supporting the plan.

The North Mymms Green Belt Society's views are set out on its website

February 27, 2000

Have your say: Should the Royal Veterinary College expand into green belt land? Have Your Say

Recent news:
Vet college: assurances demanded - February 14, 2000
Bypass: society urged to consult locals - February 6, 2000
Local resident's e-mail opposing bypass plan - February 6, 2000

NMGBS's e-mail supporting bypass plan - February 4, 2000
Green Belt Society backs bypass
- February 4, 2000
Anger over bypass plan
- February 1, 2000
Hawkshead Lane bypass bid - January 30, 2000
Vet college expansion plans submitted - January 26, 2000
Green belt vets expansion plan - Dec 10, 1999
Vet College expansion opposed - Nov 13, 1999
Vet College plans to expand - Sept 29, 1999
Golf club 'rumours' spark green belt fears - July 27, 1999
Golf club housing plan opposed - July
6, 1999


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