National Highways has been granted a Development Consent Order to widen the A12 to three lanes between junction 19 north of Chelmsford to the A120 intersection at junction 25 just south of Colchester.
It says the granting of the DCO marks a significant step towards the future delivery of the “important road project”, which is earmarked to cost up to £1.268 billion.
Heavy goods vehicles make up between 9% and 12% of the traffic on this section due to its freight connections to Felixstowe and Harwich ports, which is almost double the national figure of 5% on most routes. This section of the A12 is also an important commuter route.
National Highways says the scale of work will help improve safety for drivers, especially at the junctions and slip roads, reduce traffic congestion by increasing capacity, and make journey times more reliable.
Plans will see the current four-lane carriageway widen to six lanes. Other major improvements include the construction of two major bypasses at Rivenhall End and to the north of Kelvedon, taking heavy goods vehicles away from minor roads and local villages. Junctions will also be upgraded to help traffic enter and exit the A12 safely. There will also be additional bus stops.
Away from the road itself, a series of additional separate routes for walkers, cyclists and horse riders will also be created in a bid to help improve health and maximise the use of non-motorised forms of travel.
(Picture – National Highways)