Essex: Transport minister comes under pressure over treacherous A120
- Credit: Andrew Partridge
A transport minister will be put under pressure to explain a long-term solution for a treacherous Essex road in Westminster today.
Norman Baker will answer a debate called by Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin about the future of the busy A120 duel carriageway between Colchester and Harwich.
The Highways Agency had planned to close two dangerous junctions on the A120 in Tendring, but it emerged last month that it will be delayed for further investigations to take place. The gaps on the central reservation at Hare Green and Pellens Corner were originally set to close at the end of May.
Mr Jenkin, who has been calling for a House of Commons debate since there were suggestions the gaps would close, said: “I am very concerned about how impractical it is to close the junctions for things like school runs, emergency vehicles, home to work and just people shopping and going about their daily lives.
“The gap closures could divert significant traffic onto local roads and back roads, which will generate new safety concerns and these have to be balanced against the risk of keeping the junction open.
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“This can’t possibly be a long term solution, so I will be pressing the minister to explain what the long term solution is.”
Mr Jenkin wants the two junctions to be combined into a roundabout which he said would solve the problem.
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But, he said: “As an interim measure they should put in continuous speed monitoring cameras to reduce the speed limit on that road to 40mph. At the moment it is a national speed limit and there is evidence that cars are regularly exceeding the speed limit, so if they put in cameras that would resolve it.
“It would be quite expensive to install, but if it saves a couple of lives it is probably a safer solution than diverting traffic all over the countryside. But in the long term it needs to be a roundabout.”
The North Essex MP has been among a number of local leaders calling for urgent action to be taken at the junctions where a number of accidents and fatalities have occurred in recent years.
Following several meetings, the Highways Agency announced it was going to close the central reservations on the A120 at the junctions while it looked for a longer-term solution and funding to pay for it.
However, Tendering District Council and a number of other groups, including members of Little Bentley Parish Council, have also opposed the plans over concerns the closures will result in longer journey times for people living in the village and other drivers using the B roads as rat runs to avoid the A120.