National Highways launches A12 upgrade consultation

National Highways is today inviting people that live, work and travel in and around Essex to have their say on the latest proposals to upgrade the A12 to three lanes.

Last year, National Highways announced its preferred option of adding an extra lane to the 15 mile stretch of A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey as a part of a billion-pound upgrade of the road.

It says the preferred route was based on factors including environmental impact, journey times, complexity, affordability, and feedback from the public and local authorities.   

As a part of the proposed scheme’s continued development, National Highways are now undertaking a supplementary consultation on changes made to the project following feedback from the summer’s statutory consultation.

The changes include the removal of junction 21 southern link road, removal of proposed noise barriers to be replaced with improved road surfacing with better noise performance, and closure of an access road to the A12 (except walkers, cyclists, horse riders, emergency services and private agricultural access).

Stephen Elderkin, project director for the A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening scheme, said, “The A12 is a key route which helps to support 90,000 drivers go about their business on a daily basis. Upgrading this section to three lanes will help with economic growth of the region and keep the country connected. It will also improve safety by connecting local roads via new junctions rather than turning directly onto the A12, increase capacity, and make journey times more reliable.

“Since our statutory consultation in summer 2021, we have been analysing the responses and holding workshops with stakeholders to further understand their thoughts on the proposed scheme. We have carried out further design work based on that feedback and are now sharing those changes. This will once again help us improve our plans and deliver the best possible road improvements for all.”

National Highways says the A12 is a key economic route through Essex and Suffolk, connecting London with Ipswich and the Port of Felixstowe. The section between Chelmsford and Colchester carries high volumes of traffic, with up to 90,000 vehicles every day. Heavy goods vehicles are between 9% and 12% of the traffic on this section due to its important freight connection. 

It adds that upgrading the A12 between junctions 19 and 25 to three lanes will help with economic growth of the region and keep the country connected. The upgraded road will improve safety by connecting local roads via new junctions rather than turning directly onto the A12, and increase capacity, making journey times shorter and more reliable.  

Once complete by the end of 2028, the improved A12 will reduce journey times by up to 12 minutes for the 90,000 drivers who use it daily.  

People can take part in the consultation, which runs from Tuesday 9 November to Sunday 19 December by: 

There will be three drop-in events, subject to Government Covid-19 guidelines, at which people can speak to a member of the National Highways project team and ask questions about the updated scheme proposals.   

These will be complemented by three online drop-in events and an ongoing virtual exhibition. More information can be found at – highwaysengland.co.uk/A12  

Following the consultation, plans for the new road will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in spring 2022. Once a Development Consent Order has been granted, construction will begin in late 2023 or early 2024. 

(Picture – National Highways)

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