National Highways says “transformative” plans to radically improve the A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester have moved a step closer following the end of the six-month examination period.
The evidence gathered – which has come from a variety of interested parties including the public and local authorities – will now be considered by the Examining Authority for three months before a recommendation will be made to the Secretary of State for Transport. The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP will then have a further three months in which to grant the Development Consent Order on whether the project will be given the green light.
If permission is granted, construction will begin in 2024 and the road is expected to be open to traffic in 2027/28.
Welcoming the latest milestone in the £1.2 billion pound project, Philip Davie – National Highways Project Director for the A12 Chelmsford to A120 scheme – acknowledged and thanked those who provided their views during the examination.
“The engagement of those living and working locally has been essential in getting us to this stage and I would like to say thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our plans.
“The A12 is one of the busiest road links in the east of England and the scale of our work will transform the road and save people significant amounts of time across their weekly commute.
“With a large-scale project like this we are rightly asked a lot of questions and I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of the team in answering these queries and helping to move us to the next stage of the planning process.”
Under the plans, the A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester – J19 at Boreham Interchange to J25 at Marks Tey – will be widened to carry three lanes of traffic in each direction. Two major bypasses will be constructed at Rivenhall End and north of Kelvedon, with junctions upgraded to help traffic flow on and off the road more freely.
This section of the A12 carries a very high volume of traffic with up to 90,000 vehicles using it each day. The connection to the major ports at Harwich and Felixstowe also means heavy goods vehicles account for a higher proportion of traffic than on most major roads. Freight makes up between 9% – 12% of all traffic on this part of the A12 – that is almost double the national figure of 5% on most routes.