Recommended options for A120 dualling in Essex could be on the table within two years

Secretary of State for Transport the Patrick McLoughlin (left) sitting with Haven Gateway Partnershi

Secretary of State for Transport the Patrick McLoughlin (left) sitting with Haven Gateway Partnership chairman George Kieffer at a meeting held in Colchester about the A120. Picture: Warren Page - Credit: Archant

A final plan for a dual carriageway A120 between Colchester and Braintree could be presented to the public by autumn 2017.

Essex County Council has said it is fast-tracking a feasibility study into the stretch of road in a bid to get it into the 2020-2025 investment strategy from Highways England.

A Members’ Forum, consisting of council leaders, MPs, councillors and transport experts from Jacobs which has been recruited to lead the project, met last week to begin planning the study.

Community engagement is set to begin early next year, before any options are shortlisted.

A public consultation is anticipated to launch before the end of 2016, with final recommended options published the following autumn.

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The A120 has been the focus of a long-standing campaign by the Haven Gateway Partnership, backed by local politicians, to see safety improvements and dualling of the road to unlock economic investment.

Road realignment will need to be considered, and once finished the route will have the same status as the A120 between Braintree and the M11 at Stansted Airport.

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Rodney Bass, county councillor for infrastructure, said: “Improvements to the A120 are critical to easing congestion and improving safety – the road simply wasn’t built to carry the volume of traffic it does now.

“The first Members’ Forum meeting was an excellent start. We know this is an important improvement to both motorists and residents alike, so part of the reason we set up the A120 Members’ Forum was to ensure we cultivate regional political support to ensure people are kept informed and allow them to give us their views.

“We have a lot of work to do. I expect the engineering feasibility work to be completed toward the end of 2016, and then once the various options are worked through we will put them out for consultation.”

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