Widening of A12 to slash journey times between East Anglia and London

The A12 becomes three lanes northbound at Marks Tey. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The A12 becomes three lanes northbound at Marks Tey. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Business leaders say widening the A12 through Essex will slash journey times and be good news for the economy – as the government confirmed funding for the project.

The four route options for a widened A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT GRAPHIC

The four route options for a widened A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT GRAPHICS UNIT - Credit: Archant

The announcement is part of a £1.3billion programme unveiled by the Department of Transport – a fund exclusively for major roads and motorways in the East of England.

A scheme to make the A12 route three lanes between the Boreham Interchange at Chelmsford and the A120 junction at Marks Tey was included in the 2014 Roads Improvement Strategy.

Since then, Highways England has held a public consultation on four route options for the road, including the potential for new bypasses around Rivenhall and Marks Tey to the south of the existing road.

Yesterday the government confirmed cash was available for the project, which will cost between £100million and £250m.


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Iain Wicks, development manager at the Essex Federation of Small Businesses, said: 'From a small business perspective, improving that road is very welcome and it's a vital link between the north, south and east.

'Anyone that travels on it knows it suffers from congestion almost every day and when it does around Colchester, it means the town can become very congested and it puts people off travelling to the town and using businesses there. It also means it's very difficult for businesses to move people and goods efficiently and quickly.

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'What's important though, is that when work does start that Highways England is mindful that it will cause significant disruption and they need to work hard to minimise disruption so businesses can continue to function.'

He added: 'The roads in Essex are massively under invested in and we need to see the A12 upgraded as soon as possible.'

The news was also well-received by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Nick Burfield, policy director, added: 'This is welcome news. The A12 is an important highway for many Suffolk businesses, both to transport goods along and as the journey to work route for their employees, so any improvements which lessen delays is a good thing.'

Another consultation on the preferred route option is due in the next six months.

Work is expected to start by 2020.

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