A scheme to create a £15 million slip road to serve the hospital is expected to be completed within days.

Thomas Sawyer Way - named after Captain Tom Sawyer, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving in the Royal Artillery - runs for a mile and a half from Dalton Way to the hospital.

The new road, which will open on November 16, will speed up journeys to and from Watford General Hospital, including for blue light vehicles.

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Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “Thomas Sawyer Way is a fantastic achievement for the Health Campus, and the town, and is made extra special by its connection to a real local hero.

Watford Observer:

Graphic provided by Peter Magnus Design

"We have always put support for our hospital as a top priority for the Campus and so delivering a road that will make such a difference to patients, visitors and staff is great news.

Watford Observer:

Photo: Peter Magnus design

"This success motivates us all to get on with the next phases that will create new jobs, homes and wonderful open spaces.”

The launch of the new road, announced by Watford Health Campus partners, marks the completion of the first phase of the health campus scheme given the green light to the rest of the development.

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Construction works have already started on the first business zone, Trade City Watford, and plans are progressing on the design for the first phase of the area.

Work started on the road in June 2015 and the partnership worked with contractors VolkerFitzpatrick to complete on time, navigating a number of challenges and ensuring disruption to the local road network was kept to the minimum.

The Department of Health provided £9million of the funding and additional funding came from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which gave the scheme a £6 million loan.

Katie Fisher, chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The road will reduce journey times to A&E for emergency vehicles and improve access for the majority of people coming to the hospital.”

The road’s opening will mean changes to how people access the hospital by car, with street signs changed to help motorists find their way.

By next summer, the health campus scheme hopes to welcome the first new businesses to the Campus with the completion of the Trade City scheme which will provide over 70,000 sq.ft. of new business space for Watford.

Motorists can now....

• General visitors can go via the new road, from either Dalton Way or Wiggenhall Road, to provide access to the visitor car parks to the rear of the hospital. Visitor car parks will not be accessible from Vicarage Road.

• Disabled car parking will continue to be available near the Vicarage Road entrance, and the Renal Unit.

• Maternity Ward: the drop-off access will also continue to be via the existing entrance at Vicarage Road.

• Emergency access to A&E will be via Thomas Sawyer Way.

• Hospital staff who park in the main staff car park will use the new road to enter and leave the car park.

• Blue light section: part of the road is only for the use of ambulances and buses, with no other vehicular access permitted – the road cannot thus be used as a ‘cut through’ for vehicles between Wiggenhall and Vicarage Roads.