It was very interesting reading a report in the Watford Observer as to why the Railway Arms Public House (that once stood next to the bridge in St Albans Road) had to be demolished in 1961 to allow for a major road (A412) to be widened.

To add some more clarity to the report, the road widening was a red herring from Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Ernest Marples, after he and his ministers decided to pull the plug on the proposed Maple Cross to Hunton Bridge Orbital extension. Mr Marples was hoping that by widening that part of St Albans Road it would divert the public attention away from the real issue.

Read more: The pub demolished to widen Watford road

The proposed Maple Cross to Hunton Bridge Orbital extension had been waiting for the go-ahead since the 1950s. Opinion was that the extension would ease the congestion on the A412 bottlenecks that the Department of Transport had identified in Watford, Croxley and Rickmansworth. The locality in 1960 were obsessed with the proposed extension being given the go-ahead by Mr Marples. And, for years had suffered from tinkering and piece meal road developments; a series of after thoughts, reacting to problems like the A412 instead of anticipating them with bolder, well-constructed strategies like a new Maple Cross to Hunton Bridge extension being given the go-ahead.

Unfortunately, Mr Marples did not give the go ahead and Watford finished up with the Department of Transport shelling out £250,000 on the widening of the bridge on St Albans Road. Had the Orbital extension gone ahead in 1961 then the locality would not have had to put up with another 25 years of misery of a congested A412 until the Maple Cross to Hunton Bridge section of the M25 opened in 1985 .

Ernie MacKenzie

Gammons Lane, Watford