A new junction on the M11 opened to the public ahead of schedule last week, following the completion of one of the biggest highways infrastructure projects in Essex.
The £76 million M11 Junction 7A scheme has created a much-needed new access into Harlow and included widening and improvement of Gilden Way, plus a new link road connecting Gilden Way and the junction via new roundabouts on either side of the motorway, reports Essex Highways.
As part of the project, Essex County Council with its contractor GRAHAM has built a new bridge over the motorway, constructed slip roads for both northbound and southbound traffic, and improved walking and cycling access on Gilden Way.
Funded by the council and National Highways, the new junction completes a project started in summer 2020.
Cllr Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “Today marks the opening of one of the largest highways infrastructure projects in the county and it is testament to all involved that, despite the challenges of the last two years, the project has been delivered ahead of schedule.
“We have created a much-needed new east-west link, significantly improving access to the M11 at Harlow. This, in turn, will help reduce congestion on the A414 and other routes in the town and also support future growth, including the potential creation of up to 3,000 new jobs.
Matt Stafford, National Highways Regional Delivery Director, said: “We understand how important the M11 is to thousands of road users every day.
“The road is a vital link for work journeys, visits to friends and family, and the movement of goods and services between London and East Anglia, and we’re pleased to have worked in partnership with Essex County Council to deliver this scheme.
“A huge amount of work has gone in to get to this point and I am delighted to see the last piece of the jigsaw put in place with the opening of this new junction.”
The junction will open to traffic this evening (Friday, 10 June) and follows a formal opening event yesterday (Thursday, 9 June).
The public, whom the council thanked for their patience during construction of the scheme, were also given a unique opportunity to see the final scheme up close before it opened to traffic during a 5km charity fun run, which was supported by Harlow Running and Tri Club and Active Essex.
The fun-run, which raised money for a local charity supporting children living with cerebral palsy and St Clare Hospice, saw more than 500 participants run from the London Road Roundabout to the new junction and back. With match-funding from GRAHAM, their efforts raised over £9,000.
Dave Brown, Highways Director for GRAHAM Civil Engineering, added: “We’re pleased to have completed construction and delivered this important project in the region. The team has worked tirelessly during the programme, which included a challenging bridge beam installation over two weeks, involving four overnight closures to minimise disruption to road users. The new junction is a testament to our team’s civil engineering expertise and another addition to our growing highways portfolio.”