Highway to heaven

PUBLISHED: 10:51 23 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

Cllr Brian Hammond and Keira Brunton cut the ribbon

Cllr Brian Hammond and Keira Brunton cut the ribbon

Addressing the crowd, Cllr Hammond said that by the end of October there would be 4.5 million less cars travelling through Baldock. Construction of the bypass has involved the movement of more than one million cubic metres of earth, which was used to buil

Addressing the crowd, Cllr Hammond said that by the end of October there would be 4.5 million less cars travelling through Baldock. Construction of the bypass has involved the movement of more than one million cubic metres of earth, which was used to build an embankment for a tunnel, and to landscape the area. Some of the material has also been used for environmental moulding, which will provide sound-proofing for the residents of nearby Clothall housing estate. Cllr Lynda Needham, chairman of the district council, said she thought the bypass tunnels were a "quite remarkable piece of engineering". "They were dug out and filled over the top, not just buried straight through, so technically this is very different," she said. "The workers had no end of problems, but they still managed to finish ahead of schedule." Whilst excavating the area before the work, construction teams discovered the remains of seven bronze age burial mounds, part of the medieval hospital of St Mary Magdelene, and an ancient leper burial ground. Measures were also taken not to unduly disturb wildlife in the area. A county council spokesman said: "Environmental bodies and experts were heavily involved during the planning and construction stages of the bypass. "And the banks of the bypass were seen as an opportunity to create a chalk grassland habitat of wild flowers and butterflies." The completion of the bypass is seen as an opportunity for regeneration of the Baldock town centre. - The bypass was due to be opened by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling but like MP Oliver Heald he was prevented from attending due to business in the House of Commons.

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