Traffic warning as armoured vehicles head through region to attend major military exercise

Hundreds of miltiary vehilces are to pass through north Essex Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

Hundreds of miltiary vehilces are to pass through north Essex Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON - Credit: Colchester Garrison

Hundreds of armoured vehicles will make their way through north Essex en route to support a major Nato exercise in Norway.

Colchester Garrison has warned drivers of possible traffic disruption as 250 vehicles and 500 soldiers travel through the town and towards Harwich.

The manoeuvres are part of a 40,000 strong deployment of sailors, soldiers and airmen from 30 Nato allies testing their ability to lead a collective defence operation.

Merville Barracks is acting as a Convoy Support Centre – the military equivalent of a motorway service station - for the 4th Infantry Brigade as it moves from bases across the UK to join the Exercise Trident Juncture.

The first convoy arrives today, with the CSC providing rest and refuelling facilities before the vehicle head on to Harwich to continue by shop.

Vehicles will be routed via junction 26 of the A12 at Eight Ash Green, passing through Stanway and Shrub End on their way to and from Merville Barracks.

The last movement is scheduled for Wednesday .

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The CSC has seen a tented village set up with accommodation, washing and vehicle maintenance facilities.

Major Cath Carter said: “Trident Juncture is a demonstration of the British Army’s ability to project force from the UK to support NATO operations; our role at the Convoy Support Centre is to sustain those troops on their journey.

We’re the last comfortable stop before Norway, and our aim is to make sure troops get on the ferry on time, well rested and fed.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Caldwell, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “Colchester occupies a key strategic position near the North Sea ports and the town has long served as a staging post for soldiers on their way to continental Europe, going back as far as the Napoleonic Wars.

We recognize that the extra vehicles coming through the town and roads to Harwich may lead to congestion and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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