�12million A12 junction scheme to start

WORK on a new �12.5 million road junction on the A12 is due to begin this week.

Roddy Ashworth

WORK on a new �12.5 million road junction on the A12 is due to begin this week.

Calls for the junction to the north of Colchester have been repeatedly made by local politicians for over a decade in order to allow the redevelopment of key areas of the town, including the former Severalls Hospital site.

The junction is also being built to relieve local roads which are currently subject to severe traffic management rules whenever Colchester United play at the recently completed Weston Homes Community Stadium.

It will also allow a number of restrictions on the stadium's use to be lifted, paving the way for concerts to be held at the venue and the expansion of the site for other leisure and community uses.

Set to open in March 2011, the road link, which will connect new development in the Severalls area with the A12, is set to significantly boost the North Essex economy and represents a key part of the transport package needed to service new homes and employment in the area.

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It is hoped the junction will lead to the building of 1,500 new houses and also facilitate the release of 129,320m2 of employment and commercial floorspace, supporting as many as 5,000 extra jobs.

In addition, the new junction will improve access to the Severalls Business Estate and provide an opportunity to create a Park and Ride system in north Colchester.

The works on the junction will include:

• A single span bridge

• Two roundabouts, in a dumb-bell arrangement

• Four slip roads providing access to the north and south of the junction

• A link road to Axial Way

• An underpass for future pedestrian and cycle use

Funding for the project was secured by Essex County Council (ECC) from the Homes and Communities Agency, as part of the Government's Community Infrastructure Fund, as well as from the Haven Gateway Partnership and the East of England Development Agency.

The junction is scheduled to open to the public by March 2011.

Roger Walters, deputy cabinet member for highways and transportation at Essex County Council, said: “This new junction will serve the people of Colchester, enabling the redevelopment of the former Severalls Hospital site and employment land near the stadium and will create new jobs and homes.”

Anne Turrell, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “We are committed to ensuring that Colchester is a place where people want to live, work and visit and this new A12 junction will help to increase accessibility and opportunities for economic growth.”