Traffic will ‘grind to a halt’ without A12 and A120 upgrades, say MPs
Two of the region’s busiest roads urgently need “significant investment” to stop what is believed to be Britain’s fastest growing area grinding to a halt, MPs for the area have said.
Colchester MP Will Quince said the area’s links to London by road and rail mean it has “considerable potential” for future growth and success.
He dubbed it the “fastest growing town in the country” - but believes the inability of the A12 and A120 to take large amounts of traffic could significantly hold it back, particularly given the huge amount of new homes planned.
“To unlock our town’s business and economic growth potential, we have to ensure that it does not regularly grind to a halt, as it sadly does at the moment,” he said during a speech in parliament.
“For that, we need significant infrastructure investment.”
He was backed up in the debate by Witham MP Priti Patel, who bemoaned delays to the A12 widening scheme being consulted upon in 2017 but which she said is now “no further forward”.
“The situation is now becoming absurd,” she said.
“The roads will not progress until the housing and development plans have progressed, but those plans will not progress until the roads have progressed.”
In reply, transport minister Jesse Norman said: “We have been considering how best to take forward the A12 scheme in the light of the interaction with the proposed garden community in Marks Tey.”
He said the next step would be for Highways England, which is responsible for Britain’s motorways and A-roads, to consult on revised route options - but said any delays to the A12 scheme would not also compromise efforts to also upgrade the A120.
He said: “The A120 is recognised as an important route in the wider transport network, but currently the single-carriageway section between Braintree and the A12 near Colchester is regularly a bottleneck.”
Mr Quince said the A120 is congested for much of the day and needs to be dualled, as it is “little more than a country lane” for sections.
Of the A12, he said: “It is already approaching capacity.”
He finished his speech by saying: “I want to emphasise that there is huge potential to unlock economic growth across Essex and in my home town of Colchester, but we need investment in our transport infrastructure to realise that potential.”