A41/Watford - Aylesbury
|From:||Hunton Bridge (TQ084995)|
|Meets:||A41, M25, A411, A4251, M25, A414, A4251, A416, A4251, A4157, A418, A413, A41|
|Old route now:||A4251, B4635, B4009, C141|
Buckinghamshire Council • Hertfordshire Council
Buckinghamshire • Hertfordshire
|Route outline (key)|
North of Hunton Bridge, the A41 diverts off its original line as upgrades between here and M25 J20 have meant a slight deviation. Around the time the M25 was constructed the road had been upgraded to dual carriageway between Junction 20 and Bridge Road, leaving a stub of Watford Road near the viaduct at the same time. This is accessible from the new alignment, and was retained due to the number of properties along the route.
The A41 between junction 20 of the M25 and the eastern end of the Tring bypass was opened to traffic in 1993. It was built under two contracts – the Kings Langley bypass was started by Budge and completed by Alfred McAlpine when Budge went bust during the contract. The Kings Langley bypass also bypasses the southern part of Hemel Hempstead that the A41 used to go through. The old A41, between the M25 and Tring, lost its primary status and became the A4251.
The Berkhamsted Bypass was built by Amey Construction Ltd. They survived the construction process and went on to build other major roads, but have recently opted out of mainstream contracting to concentrate on long term asset management—they have a number of prestigious contracts with the Highways Agency.
This section of the A41 is built to dual 2-lane standard with grade separated junctions. Whilst the main line is built to a reasonably high standard, frequent changes to the design requirements during the planning stages meant that the junctions themselves are very tight (hence the heavy use of anti-skid surfacing on some sliproads). Heading north west from the M25, the first junction is a diamond junction with a dumbbell roundabout underneath. From here, the A414 begins its trek to Maldon in Essex.
Continuing in a westerly direction, the road comes alongside the west-coast main line, crosses the A4251, skirts Boxmoor common before arriving at the Bourne End junction with the A4251. Cue a set of dodgy slip roads in a half-cloverleaf arrangement. The anti-skid surfacing is required to help deter traffic leaving the A41 from missing the bend on the slip road and ploughing straight across the on-bound traffic. Regardless, the design has resulted in a number of accidents over the years.
Next up is a less important junction leading to a farm, a few industrial units, and a fairly small service station. Access to Bourne End using this junction was prohibited by a set of bollards installed on an access route.
The A41 continues to the south of Berkhamsted, past its junction with the A416 (cue another junction arrangement like the one at Bourne End). Soon we pass under a reinforced concrete arched bridge which carries the Ridgeway long distance trail across the road. We then join up with the Tring Bypass – which was once known as the A41(M) before the M25 and the southern extension was completed.
The Tring Bypass was built in the 1970s to D2M (dual two-lane with hard shoulder) standard. It has subsequently been despecialised and is now a portion of the A41. This section is less than 2 miles long and stood out like a sore thumb on maps as an isolated piece of motorway. Aston Clinton is now bypassed to the north, giving a fully dualled route from the M25 to the outskirts of Aylesbury.
Aylesbury is unbypassed (unless the A4157 counts) and the A41 spends some of its time on the Roman Akeman Street, the route that was originally A41. The A41 forms the southern side of the Aylesbury Ring Road.