Bid for A120 dualling in Essex gets boost from business and politicians

Priti Patel with business leaders and local councillors at the meeting in Chelmsford. Picture: ESSEX

Priti Patel with business leaders and local councillors at the meeting in Chelmsford. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A campaign for a dual carriageway from Stansted Airport to Harwich has taken a step forward, with politicians and business leaders forming a new board to press its case.

They are trying to secure funding to complete the dualling of the road between Marks Tey and Braintree and from Harwich to the junction with the A133 near Great Bromley.

They have come together to form a Business Board and the establishment of A120 Campaign Champions to press the case as Highways England looks at its priorities for growth over the next five years.

The first meeting of the Business Board took place at County Hall in Chelmsford. It is a key element of the campaign to persuade the government to include the £550million dualling scheme in the government's next multi-billion pound strategic Road Investment Strategy (RIS) 2, which will see road improvements between 2020 and 2024.

After lobbying from Witham MP Priti Patel, the government provided match-funding to support Essex County Council to develop the dualling scheme proposals which businesses in Essex and throughout the East of England are backing.

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Ms Patel said: "It's great to see so many key businesses and major employers supporting the proposals to dual the A120.

"The A120 is a major economic corridor and dualling the road to meet growing demand will reduce congestion, improve safety, be better for the environment and turbo-charge our economy."

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The proposed dualling scheme will add £2.2billion in gross value to the economy, support the creation of up to 20,000 jobs, reduce traffic through local villages and reduce accidents.

Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council cabinet member for infrastructure, a driving force for the upgrade, said more than 500 businesses had already signed a petition calling for government investment in an upgraded A120.

David Burch, from Essex Chambers of Commerce, added: "Whether you are running a small or large company, access to a good road network is essential to the success of your business and the A120 is a vital part of Essex's network.

"The unfortunate fact, though, is that our members tell us that the road isn't fit for purpose and costs them both time and money through delays and closures."

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