New road ‘Thomas Sawyer Way’

Picture of Thomas Sawyer way from above

Welcome to our section focussing exclusively on the key news around the new road linking in to the Watford hospital car park.

On Wednesday 16 November 2016 the new 1.5 mile stretch of ‘Thomas Sawyer Way’ opens to the public and will change the way that most people access Watford General Hospital. Access to the hospital via Vicarage Road will be restricted to blue badge holders and for drop-off only.

New road signage across Watford will help to navigate people to the new hospital entrance and lots of other communication activity has taken place to inform as many people as possible of these changes. We have also written to our patients with planned appointments letting them know.

One of the biggest advantages of the new road will be the improved ambulance access to A&E which will help to ensure that patients get to the hospital quicker than before. Over time, the new road should also help to improve general traffic flow across the town.


If you have any queries about access to the hospital, please contact our PALS department:

Frequently asked questions

Q: What is the route of the route of the new road?

A: Thomas Sawyer Way, the new access road to the hospital, can be accessed from all the main routes into Watford. Road signage on all these routes will direct traffic to the new hospital entrance from Thomas Sawyer Way. None of the routes will take you round the ring road, thereby reducing journey times and helping reduce congestion in the town centre. Thomas Sawyer Way can be accessed from Wiggenhall Road or Dalton Way.

Q: Can anyone access the new road?

A: Yes, the new access road to the hospital (Thomas Sawyer Way) is a public road, but the section of road linking Thomas Sawyer Way to Willow Lane is restricted to ambulances and buses. There is no through route from Thomas Sawyer Way to Vicarage Road.

Visitors coming by car can get to the hospital car parks via Thomas Sawyer Way from either Dalton Way or Wiggenhall Road.

Q: Is my journey time likely to increase?

A: Although we expect some teething problems initially as people get used to the new access road to and from the hospital, Herts Highways expects vehicle travelling times to decrease slightly from most directions. People travelling to the hospital from the west of Watford will have a slightly longer journey time to the new main entrance, but people travelling from other directions should over time have a shorter journey.

We would encourage patients and visitors to allow extra travel time to and from the hospital in the short term as people adjust to the changes. Herts Highways will be closely monitoring the flow of traffic around the town once the new road opens and will make any necessary changes to traffic signals to try to improve the movement of traffic, particularly during busy periods.

The biggest advantage of the new road will be for emergency patients arriving via ambulance who will have quicker journey times to and from A&E.

Q: How will parking change for patients and visitors?

General visitors – Visitors travelling by car should access the hospital car parks via Thomas Sawyer Way from either Dalton Way or Wiggenhall Road. You will no longer be able to access the main visitor car park from the Vicarage Road.

Dropping off - If you are dropping off patients there are some drop off spaces via the Vicarage Road entrance which will also be accessible from the Tomas Sawyer Way entrance. If you require to stay longer than the period assigned to the drop off bay (!0 or 30 minutes) you will need to relocate to the main visitor car park or, if you are a Blue badge holder to a designated Disabled Bay.

Disabled car parking– Blue Badge holders can access car parking spaces by both the new car park entrance via Thomas Sawyer Way and the Vicarage Road entrance.

Emergency access to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit – access to A&E should be made from Thomas Sawyer Way - either from Dalton Way or Wiggenhall Road.  It will still be possible to drop-off at A&E from Vicarage Road entrance, but all vehicles will exit via Thomas Sawyer Way..

Maternity drop-off – short term parking and drop off to the maternity ward can continue to be accessed via the Vicarage Road entrance. However longer term parking arrangements will then need to be made via the main entrance off Thomas Sawyer Way.

Pedestrian and cycle access – access remains via Vicarage Road but pedestrians and cyclists will now also be able to access the site from Wiggenhall Road using the new road.

Emergency section – part of Thomas Sawyer Way is only for the use of emergency vehicles and buses, with no other vehicle access permitted. As such, the road cannot be used as a ‘cut through’ for vehicles between Wiggenhall Road and Vicarage Road (or visa/versa). ‘No entry’ signage will remind drivers of this restriction and failure to comply with these road traffic restrictions could result in prosecution.

Please also note….. -we will have additional staff on duty around access points to the hospital in the short term to help patients and visitors access the site during this transitional period.

Also…. some small changes to parking arrangements for visitors and patients will be necessary to support the opening of the new road. The total number of parking spaces available to both visitor and staff will remain constant and we are hoping to increase the number of disabled parking spaces.

Parking continues to remain a challenge due to the topography and layout of the site, and we are now actively working towards improved longer term parking arrangements.

Q: Why is the road called Thomas Sawyer Way?

A: It’s named after Captain Thomas Sawyer, who lived near the hospital and was killed in Afghanistan, aged just 26, whilst serving in the Royal Artillery. As well as having a road named after him, Tom’s family worked with the council to develop designs for the road signs that are personal to Tom.

Q: Can I drive back up the hospital onto Vicarage Road after entering the hospital at the bottom entrance?

A: No. A planning condition means that there is no rat-run through the hospital from Thomas Sawyer Way to Vicarage Road – this will also help to increase pedestrian safety and reduce congestion around our site.

Q: What other developments are happening alongside the road?

A: Construction of an industrial park is already underway and designs are being developed for housing next to the river. Proposals for retail facilities, a hotel and a school are also being considered.

Q: Is there a new train line opening soon near the hospital?

A: Yes, a new Metropolitan Line tube station is due to open near to the hospital in late 2020. Construction work is planned to start in the near future and you will hear more about this as timings and details become available.

Q: Can vehicle deliveries still be made from the Vicarage Road entrance?

A: Yes. It will still be possible to access the R&D store from Vicarage Road. All delivery drop offs can be made from either the Vicarage Road or Thomas Sawyer Way entrances.

Q. Can I drop off at the Nursery and then drive through to the Staff Car Park?

A: You will still access the Nursery drop off from the Vicarage Road entrance. You should then drive round to the main staff car park, accessing it via Thomas Sawyer Way. You will be able to collect from the Nursery by following the Drop Off signs from the main visitor car park.

Q: Who should I contact if I need further information about the road which is not covered in the text above?

A: If you have any queries about access to the hospital, please initially contact our PALS department:

The very best care for every patient, every day