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Highways England plans to widen A12

Words: Laura Edgar
Infrastructure construction / iStock-95396741

Highways England has announced that it plans to widen a 15-mile stretch of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey in a bid to reduce congestion and accidents.

The government-owned body has consulted on how best to upgrade the section of road into three lanes, but plans have since been put forward for Colchester Braintree Borders Garden Community as part of North Essex Garden Communities, which could affect the suggested A12 route.

Highways England says it has worked with the relevant local authorities on how the A12 could support proposed housing growth.

The preferred route for junctions 19 to 23, west of where the new homes could be built, would widen the section to three lanes in both directions, while a three-lane bypass in each direction at Rivenhall End will be built.

Highways England said it “remains committed” to upgrading the whole stretch of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey. It has launched a further consultation to gather public feedback on four new routes running between junctions 23 and 25 that could be used if the proposed garden community does go ahead.

Those consulted on in 2017 remain viable options for the route should the new development not go ahead.

Stephen Elderkin, Highways England project lead for the A12, said: “The A12 is a key route connecting the East of England to London. With the high levels of congestion, it’s a route that Highways England and the government are committed to improving. Our proposed improvements will increase safety and average speeds, so that someone travelling on the A12 daily can expect to save over an hour of travel time each week.”

Once the new three-lane A12 route is built, the existing road would be retained and handed over to Essex County Council for use by local traffic.

Highways England hopes to announce its preferred option for junctions 23 to 25 next summer. A consultation will then be held on the full route from junctions 19 to 25, and a development consent order application is expected to be submitted in 2021.

The consultation for junctions 23 to 25, which closes on 1 December, can be found here.

Image credit | iStock