The Cole Green Way between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford has been the subject of an upgrade programme by Hertfordshire County Council for what seems like a very long time. There have been various delays which have been outside the control of the council – contractors pulling out, discovery of a high voltage line below the surface and more.
The problems with the track were mainly due to mud and poor drainage, compounded in autumn by leaf fall.
The project was made by possible with funding from Hertfordshire County Council and Sustrans.
I attended an opening event when members and officers of the council had a photo op at the station and we all cycled some way up the track to have a look at the results.
A good deal of work has been carried out by Countryside Management Services, also part of HCC. This includes clearing the vegetation beside the track, tree removal to allow more light in to increase biodiversity, and construction of steps to adjoining footpaths, not to mention improvements to the station area,
The actual resurfacing and drainage improvements have now almost been completed.
The section between the A414 underpass and St Mary’s Lane has been resurfaced with crushed concrete, a hard compacted surface that should drain well.
The section between St Mary’s Lane and the Hertford Loop Line overhead bridge has been resurfaced with tarmac. This section is beautifully smooth and is slightly cambered to allow water to run off into track edge drainage. Well done to the contractors who did this work. This opens a commuting route between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford on tarmac almost all the way by using The Old Coach Road and Hertingfordbury Road. Commuters will appreciate this in wet weather.
So what is with the “almost”? Unfortunately one short section of crushed concrete surfacing just west of the rail overbridge failed to set properly and remains a loose slush of crushed concrete. It is passable with care and it shouldn’t stop you using and enjoying the track.
Our other critiques are:
1 – the crushed concrete surface is a bit lumpy in places, particularly near the station,
2 – some parts of the track already have significant amount of leaf fall which is causing build up of leaf mould and mud in a few places,
3 – there is low level vegetation overgrowth in places.
The council are aware of our concerns and do plan to remedy them, hopefully in the near future.