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Dualling of A120 from Braintree to Colchester could be ready in 2026

John Hayes, roads minister, presented with a petition from businesses calling for improvements to the A120 by George Kieffer, chairman of the Haven Gateway. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

John Hayes, roads minister, presented with a petition from businesses calling for improvements to the A120 by George Kieffer, chairman of the Haven Gateway. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

A new dualled A120 between Braintree and the A12 could see the first vehicles hit the road by mid 2026, according to a new report.

A feasibility study by Essex County Council and highways experts, Jacobs, exploring the possible routes for the road and gauging public opinion for the project, has also estimated a three-year construction time for the scheme.

George Kieffer, chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership which has campaigned for the project, said: “All in all from a key point of view we are making good progress but it is about keeping up the pressure.

“Our petition was signed by no less than 500 businesses directly affected by the road.

“This project is essential. The Government does have a tendency that if there are too many objections it goes into the ‘too difficult box’ and therefore is forgotten about. It is incumbent on us to deliver a comprehensive statement of support.”

Mr Keiffer added the project would have a huge benefit to parts of rural Essex as well as unlocking millions of pounds in growth.

He said: “For example, I have spoken to an employed resident in South Suffolk who was offered a job at Stansted and realised to get there he would have to drive one and half hours there every day because there is no public transport going that way, particularly if you are shift working. It stopped him getting a job.

“The need to attract jobs to what is a very rural part of north Essex is very important.”

The Government has already committed funding to widening the A12 from Chelmsford to Marks Tey.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The A12 is the transportation backbone of Essex, so widening it to three lanes will have a huge impact that will help unlock the county’s true economic potential.

“Accidents on the county’s roads cause delays and congestion, which make journey times longer and increase costs for businesses, which in turn damages the local economy.”

County Hall said 2026 was the “absolute earliest” for the A120 if everything went as planned, and is dependent on the scheme making it into the Government’s second Road Improvement Strategy.

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