Will A12 route decision mean new Essex road will open after 14 years?
- Credit: Archant
Home secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel has welcomed the publication of a preferred route for a new, widened A12 from Chelmsford to Marks Tey – even though motorists will have to wait eight years to use it.
Six years after the government first announced plans to widen the road – in December 2014 – and after re-announcing the plans in 2016, 2017 (twice), 2018 and 2019, Highways England has drawn up a preferred route for the new road.
However, it has warned the earliest the new road could be built is 2027-28, 14 years after it was first announced.
Ms Patel said: “This announcement is welcome and now gives communities along the A12 much-needed certainty about the future route for when the road is widened into three lanes.
“I have been campaigning for this decision to be made and now we can all crack on with working with local communities to get the road built.
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“More engagement can now take place with local homeowners and landowners in the vicinity of the new route.
“This decision could have been made three years ago but for unacceptable delays created by Colchester Borough Council, which caused uncertainty, rising costs and put the scheme at risk.
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“Despite this problem, I’ve been working with the government and Highways England to get this vital scheme progressed and the preferred route announcement issued.
“The widened A12 is funded by the Conservative government and will be a boost for the economy, reduce congestion and improve safety.
“It also paves the way for further infrastructure investment, including the A120 dualling scheme.”
The last delay was because of the need for clarity over the number of homes to be built in the Marks Tey area after the road upgrade is completed. Several districts and Essex County Council are involved in drawing up a local plan for the area.
Colchester council has always said the delay was not caused by them.
Liberal Democrat leader of Colchester council, Mark Cory, said: “She’s only criticising us because we’re not Conservative-controlled. Nothing has been included in these plans without agreement from all the councils.”