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Essex/Suffolk: Should the A12 be upgraded to a motorway?

11:20 21 March 2014

The A12 junction at the A120 in Essex.

The A12 junction at the A120 in Essex.

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Moves to transform one of Essex’s most congested transport routes into a motorway have been welcomed by key figures in the county.

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Chelmsford MP Simon Burns wants to put an A12 upgrade on the Department for Transport infrastructure map in the wake of government promises to spend more on roads.

The long-serving Tory, speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, said coalition infrastructure spending ambitions made it an “opportune time” to put plans on the table again.

“I am realistic, this is not going to be one of their top priorities because there are other greater needs around the country, but you cannot just think short term, so it is worth getting the ball rolling to see what can be done,” he said.

Essex County Council’s highways chief Rodney Bass said he “totally endorsed” Mr Burns’ comments.

“These strategic routes are the economic lifeblood of Essex and Suffolk and they deserve far greater attention than we’ve had so far,” he said.

Mr Bass said the A12 was the country’s busiest route that was not yet a motorway and its upgrade was a “shared objective” of councils in Suffolk and Essex.

“This is a strategic route of national importance – not simply local importance – so it’s great to see these plans being debated,” he added.

“These sort of schemes represent far better value for money that the HS2 railway investment and we think that much more focus should be given to their upgrade.”

The Conservative councillor conceded there was “quite a lot of work to be done” before the motorway upgrade was agreed and called for more immediate attention to fix the “dangerous pinch points” along the route.

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chamber of Commerce, also supported the proposal, claiming the current problems with congestion were a “frustration” for his members.

“It’s certainly an interesting concept,” he said.

“Whether we could get the government to agree to it is another matter but if we don’t field the ideas we won’t get the notice of the policy makers.

“The delays that businesses experience with the A12 is the sort of thing that causes frustration but also has knock on effects in terms of staffing problems, lost time and costs.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, fending Mr Burns’ questions, gave no clues about whether a plan would be a likely contender to receive a slice of the Transport budget, replying: “You make a very interesting suggestion and no doubt you will pursue this argument both with me and the authorities on a number of occasions to come.”

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8 comments

  • When a M12 was last on the radar it was the nimbus around Chelmsford that got it kicked into the long grass (remember how long it took until the Chelmsford bypass was built for the same reason). Better roads are needed in Suffolk and anything to promote is to be welcomed but don't hold your breath for help from SCC and our local MPs.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Excellent idea, convert the lot! Then we can rush even faster to the next traffic jam and congestion. We never learn do we? Parts of the M25 are now 5 lane, all they do is (besides get congested frequently) is move the jams somewhere else. Rush up the M12M14...and meet the Orwell Bridge, Ipswich suburbs, contraflow, etc etc We need good roads, good public transport and sensible choice. We will never build ourselves out of congestion as long as everyone and his dog wants a car and then uses it to pop down to the paper shop.

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    Weary Traveller

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Yes, and that goes for the A14. However I would also like to see the A120 made in to a dual carriageway for its entire length from Harwich to Stansted Airport. While we're at it, how about having the A140 as a dual carriageway as well? I have never been able to understand why the major link between Ipswich and Norwich is single carriageway, except for the bit of dual carriageway at Scole.

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    Richard Hall

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Cracking idea. May bring more Traffic Police to keep the rubbish drivers at bay.

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    SufRoadUser

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Please don't forget us, to the North of Ipswich towards Lowestoft either. The A12 beyond the county town is mostly single carriageway and villages such as FarnhamStratford ad just as importantly, Blythburgh need relief now. The A12 to the South of Ipswich should be upgraded to 3 lanes along it's entire length in readiness for upgrade to motorway standard, especially as there is no plan to remove speed limiters from HGV's which is currently one of the biggest issues with congestion. It's not the lorries or drivers, but that ridiculous piece of machinery that, almost but not quite, makes lorries travel at the same speed.

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    Dean

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • A Smith

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Suffolk must prioritise - and strongly promote - upgrades to the A14 first. Despite Felixstowe's status as Britain's foremost container port, there has been little new investment in roads or rail since 1982. There is for the first time serious competition from the new London Gateway terminal, a port as big at Felixstowe on the north bank of the Thames, just 9 miles to motorway connections. For the major midlands distribution hubs, our truckers have 120 miles on the congested A14 before they meet motorway (with bottle necks at Orwell Bridge, Cambridge, Huntingdon, M6. The future prosperity of Suffolk relies on a fluid A14, so an Ipswich Northern bypass is not a wish, but an absolute necessity for Ipswich & Suffolk's future prosperity. Around 10,000 Ipswich & Suffolk jobs rely on these trucks getting through. When the bridge opened in 1982, 300,000 TEUS of cargo crossed the Orwell, now its heading towards 4 million. 40% of the country's entire container freight crosses the Orwell today. What Ipswich, Felixstowe, Suffolk and the whole county needs is a Northern bypass for Ipswich. Without it growth at the port of Felixstowe will decline and business will move elsewhere.

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    Mark Ling

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • What a 'silly' question !, I have long been saying that both the A12 and the A14 ought to be 3 lane Motorways by now !

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    freedomf

    Friday, March 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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