Major improvements for A12
The government acknowledges the importance of the East of England and the need for better road connections between London, the Midlands, Felixstowe, Tilbury and London Gateway.
Proposals to upgrade the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon were announced earlier in the year and the government are now proposing to widen the A12 between Chelmsford and A120 (Junction 25) at Marks Tey to three lanes. There is also a commitment to carry out preparatory work to widen the A12 between the M25 and Chelmsford and around the Colchester bypass.
The proposals to upgrade the A12 represent the first major investment in the trunk road network serving north Essex for many years. We know from discussions with local occupiers the difficulties they face with congestion and accidents on the A12. Although it is surprising that the upgrading works are not to commence at the M25 junction, any improvements to this key artery will boost inward investment and enhance growth prospects in the region.
The Department of Transport paper ‘Road Investment Strategy’ goes to some lengths to stress the strategic benefits of the road improvement programme but is short on detail other than a general commitment to complete improvements to the network by 2040.
Interestingly the map provided in the paper showing what the road network would look like by 2040 describes the A12 as ‘a current planned and a potential expressway’ and identifies the A120 between Bishop’s Stortford and Marks Tey as being an ‘option for further expressway’.
Time will tell how quickly this vision can be converted into reality but as one of the few home county regions without its own arterial motorway the government’s promised investment is to be welcomed as a big step towards the creation of a new ‘Eastern Powerhouse’!