Government looking at major upgrade to ‘farm track’ A120, potentially costing hundreds of millions
A north Essex road which is vital to the region’s economy but has been likened to a “farm track” after decades of deterioration could be in line for an upgrade worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Tendring District Council’s (TDC) meeting on Tuesday night heard the Government is looking at a major upgrade of the A120 between Hare Green and Harwich.
Responding to a question from a Labour councillor about the state of the road, TDC leader Neil Stock said the A120 was included in the Government’s Road Improvement Strategy 2 from 2020-2025.
Speaking to the EADT last night, Mr Stock said the improvements could cost “hundreds of millions”, would see the road dualled and could possibly take a new route.
“That’s how substantial the improvements are that we are looking at,” he added.
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Mr Stock said Tendring had struggled to attract large sums of infrastructure funding because its coastal geography meant few roads passed through the district and therefore failed to satisfy “cost-benefit” assessments.
However, after receiving questions about the road’s “terrible” state, Mr Stock said he approached Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin who was able to raise the case for improvements with a transport minister.
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Mr Stock said that while the calls for improvement had been “bubbling away” for many years he felt now the “balance had been tipped” due to the support from Mr Jenkin and the clear need for work to be done.
The road was built half a century ago using concrete bases which are now said to be nearing the end of their viable life.
As repairs are required, Mr Stock said it made sense to carry out major improvements in recognition’s of the A120’s vital role connecting with the Port of Harwich.
“Harwich is a fantastic town with a lot to offer not just for the local economy but for the national economy too,” he added. “However the road is not currently fit for purpose and has been likened to a farm track in places.”
Speaking at Tuesday’s council meeting he said: “It is an opportunity to develop a proper A120 development strategy, which is integrated with the plans for economic development along the A120 corridor.”
Mr Stock confirmed Highways England had begun an £800,000 repair scheme to the road week.