New road patrols for A12

DEDICATED road patrols for the A12 in Essex will be introduced next month as part of a bid to cut down congestion on the busy route.

Roddy Ashworth

DEDICATED road patrols for the A12 in Essex will be introduced next month as part of a bid to cut down congestion on the busy route.

An 18-strong team of officers, who will be under the control of Essex Police, is being deployed to help clear accidents and keep the road moving between 6am and midnight every day.

They will have greater powers than similar road patrols in the UK, including the authority to arrest road users and the ability to move vehicles.

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The new patrols are being funded by an initial start up grant of �1.5million provided by Essex County Council following its flagship public inquiry into the A12 last year.

The busy arterial route recently experienced over 800 accidents in one year, causing the equivalent of 24 days of delays, and was also voted 'Britain's Worst Road' in a recent drivers poll.

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The 53 mile stretch of the A12 through Essex varies unexpectedly between two and three lanes and has very different standards of width, geometry, access, lighting and lay-bys along its length.

It is hoped the new patrols will:

* deal with and clear incidents more quickly.

* provide a quicker response to incidents in the first place.

* Clear broken down vehicles and debris faster.

* have a positive effect in improving journey times and reduce accidents

Norman Hume, chairman of the A12 Alliance and Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation at Essex County Council, said: “This is an example of how a local authority can work with other agencies to deliver real improvements to peoples lives.

“The A12 patrols will enable accidents to be cleared more quickly and cut down on delays on this busy artery and working in close partnership with the police, we will work to make them the success our residents deserve.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “We are committed to working together with Essex County Council and other partners to reduce the number of casualties on the roads of Essex and this initiative will contribute significantly to the reduction of congestion on the A12.

“Currently we are on track to commence the patrols on September 2.”

Although the patrols are being funded by Essex County Council and operated by Essex Police, overall control of the road will remain with the national Highways Agency.

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