A120 improvement group asks for £10m fund to kick-start work
A group campaigning to improve the A120 is appealing for £10million Government funding to take the scheme forward.
The Haven Gateway Partnership is leading a long-term project to upgrade the route between Braintree and Harwich.
In the short term the group is calling for £4m to conduct a feasibility study on the stretch of road between Braintree and Marks Tey.
It wants a further £6m to spend on safety improvements at two dangerous junctions, at the Earls Colne turn off and at Pellens Corner near Little Bentley.
A website has already been launched outlining the initial business case for improving the road. A study conducted by Haven Gateway suggests with investment the A120 could unlock £1.3billion in growth for the local economy and cut journey times by 56%.
The project takes another step forward with a Business Reception inviting local companies to add their voices to the campaign, taking place at the Marks Tey Hotel on December 12 from 12.30-2pm.
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It has cross-party support, with the reception being jointly hosted by Conservatives Priti Patel, MP for Witham, and Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and north Essex along with Liberal Democrat Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell.
Steve Clarke, Haven Gateway Partnership director for the A120, said: “This is all about the overall plan. The A120 does not seem to have had that whole route approach before, and we want to take a holistic view.
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“The main concern is this area has missed out, and the lead in times are such that if don’t nail it down now and get on the conveyor belt it will always be ten years away. We need it to be put in the programme.
“I have found it very helpful just chatting to people about what their issues are, and how they dread it.”
David McCullough, who is helping to co-ordinate the political campaign, added: “We are a quite a critical juncture at the moment.
“It has to be now in terms of the roll-out of various route-based strategies from the Highways Agency and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
“The statement is more for shovel-ready projects and we are not expecting anything from it. But I think politicians are also looking towards the general election.
“Our business reception will rally the business community as this leads to the best campaigns. We have some big names already, but smaller companies are also very important.
“Whatever happens the campaign has to go on. This is the first step on the ladder.”