Region's newest road warmly welcomed
By Ted JeoryA NEW £130million road has been hailed as a major boost to the region's economy and a welcome relief for long-suffering villagers.The latest stretch of the new A120 between Braintree and the M11 was officially opened yesterday after several years of planning and more than three years of construction.
By Ted Jeory
A NEW £130million road has been hailed as a major boost to the region's economy and a welcome relief for long-suffering villagers.
The latest stretch of the new A120 between Braintree and the M11 was officially opened yesterday after several years of planning and more than three years of construction.
About £130m of public money has been spent on the 15-mile dual carriageway, which is expected to shorten journey times to the M11 and Stansted Airport.
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It will also cut congestion and pollution in the villages that lined the old, single-carriageway A120.
A ceremonial ribbon was cut yesterday afternoon to open the second and final phase of the new A120 project, linking the new, 11-mile stretch between Braintree and Great Dunmow to the four-mile section east of the M11, which opened in December.
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Braintree MP Alan Hurst said: “It is a marvellous piece of engineering and quite a wonder to drive on. The road network in this part of Essex was in dire need of upgrading, both for the local communities and for drivers.”
Rodney Bass, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, added: “Residents who have suffered heavy traffic through their villages for many years will experience a much better quality of life.”
Business representatives in the region also backed the new road, saying it would give a boost to tourism, industry and the local economy.
Bob Feltwell, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is very welcome to the business community in Suffolk because Stansted is our main international airport.
“Air transport is all very well, but if it takes too long to get to the airport it wastes time and, to business people, time is very valuable.”
Jason Berry, of Colchester Chamber of Commerce added: “Anything that improves communication links is good for business.”
A spokesman for Stansted Airport said the road would “undoubtedly” help its controversial plan to build a new runway, but stressed it was existing travellers who would benefit at the moment.
But Green Party co-ordinator, James Abbott, said the new route would destroy at least 500 acres of countryside as well as accelerating traffic growth once opened.
He conceded the road would provide relief for villages, but warned that would only last for about 10 years and added damage to rivers, hedgerows and wildlife would be irreparable.
The new A120 project made extensive use of new recycling techniques with waste concrete crushed and returned to the construction site, resulting in about 70,000 fewer lorry movements.
More than 125,000 native trees and shrubs are being planted along the route and six badger tunnels have also been built under the road.
Fifteen miles of deer fencing from Stansted just to the east of Great Dunmow have also been provided as a protection for a local herd.