County set for major road improvements

By Graham DinesPolitical EditorMORE than £1billion is to be spent improving trunk roads and motorways in Essex in the next 10 years – but the dualling of the A120 to Harwich has been overlooked.

By Graham Dines

Political Editor

MORE than £1billion is to be spent improving trunk roads and motorways in Essex in the next 10 years – but the dualling of the A120 to Harwich has been overlooked.

The A12 from its junction with the M25 to the Ardleigh interchange north of Colchester is the subject of a £459million upgrading scheme to increase the number of lanes in each direction from two to three.


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The project is the outcome of the multi-modal study from London to Ipswich, which last year recommended major improvements to the road network from East Anglia to the capital.

In the biggest road building programme to be announced for 20 years, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said the aim was to "deliver real improvements for people and businesses across the country".

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He told MPs yesterday: "The improvements are essential to tackling congestion on major routes – particularly the widening of the M25 and the M11. They will add vital capacity to the strategic road network and support economic growth."

The schemes are expected to be included in the road building programme over the next 10 years.

Their priority will depend on how controversial they are with residents, how much design and engineering work has to be done by the Highways Agency and how many public inquries need to be held on compulsory purchase land orders.

Mr Darling has endorsed the following road projects:

n A12/M25 Brook Street interchange – £26m cost

n A12 widening M25 to Chelmsford – £220m cost

n A12 Chelmsford to A120 Ardleigh interchange – £239m cost

n A120 Braintree to Marks Tey dualling – £203m cost

n M11 Junction 8-9 widening to dual three lanes – £171m cost.

Money will also be spent in Essex as part of the M25 widening project from three to four lanes in each direction.

The estimated construction cost is £1.7bn, about one-sixth of which will be spent in Essex from the Dartford crossing to the M11 and beyond.

The M11 from junction 9 in Essex to junction 14 at Cambridge will also be widened, at a cost of £226m.

But the prospect of dualling the A120 from Harwich to Hare Green and capacity improvements on the A12 between Ipswich and Colchester will not be pursued at present.

graham.dines@eadt.co.uk

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