Three lane A12 widening project could stretch back to Colchester in new Highways England plan

The A12 at Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The A12 at Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Commuters could be set for traffic respite after it was revealed the A12 could be widened around Colchester.

Highways England revealed earlier this year it was proposing to introduce a third lane from Chelmsford to Marks Tey to ease congestion.

But it has now decided to look at increasing this to junction 29, the Ipswich turn off.

Campaigners have said it is excellent news and will bring economic benefits to Colchester.

Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “It makes an awful lot of sense.

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“If you look at that stretch of the A12 it is the link between Stansted and Harwich and Felixstowe ports.

“There’s going to be a new A120 so why on earth would you have a narrow stretch of the A12 when it’s taking both the A120 and A12 traffic?

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“It makes perfect sense and is another example the Government is starting to pay attention to the need for economic infrastructure.”

It is hoped the three lanes will be completed by 2025, although the plans depend on how much they will cost to build.

Will Quince, MP for Colchester, said he had been pushing the Government very hard for the scheme and was now petitioning for a new northbound slip road for the existing Lexden junction.

He said: “At the moment the junction is only part way and you can’t get on to travel Ipswich bound, which is not sensible.

“Given the pressures on the junctions at Stanway and the football stadium it needs to be put right.

“The county council and I are looking at drawing up a proposal to put to Highways England and the LEP.

“For anyone who lives in Lexden, Prettygate or even Stanway this could take huge pressures off.

“The fact they are going to widen up to junction 29 is very good news.”

Highways England has been holding consultations over the preferred new A120 route, which will see the road dualled, with the current road not fit for purpose.

Responses to the five options are still being considered, and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

A report last week said the new road could see cars on it as early as 2026.

Construction would begin in six years time.

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