'Turn the A12 into M12'

THE only long term solution to ease traffic congestion on the A12 would be to create an “M12” motorway into Essex, it has been claimed.

James Hore

THE only long term solution to ease traffic congestion on the A12 would be to create an “M12” motorway into Essex, it has been claimed.

An Essex County Council inquiry began this week into the road which has been dubbed the “worst in Britain”.

It is hoped the findings will help identify ways to improve the road amid claims congestion is costing the county £250 million a year.

Now Marks Tey Parish Council is calling for a new motorway to be built from the M25 in order to cope with the heavy good vehicles.

The village is often snarled with traffic when the A12 becomes blocked and vehicles are diverted onto the A120 as an alternative.

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The council has made a series of suggestions for improvements to the existing road, including:

n Chevrons to keep the traffic apart.

n Cameras monitoring traffic flow.

n A speed limit reduction to 50mph or 60mph on “dangerous” stretches.

Chairman Nigel Fitch said problems on the A12 included speeding cars, narrow lanes and “poor slip roads”.

He said: “Miles of tailbacks and adjacent village blockages are caused within minutes of closure, causing untold misery for tens of thousands of drivers and residents.

“The long term answer must be a new M12 from the M25 to the docks where 90% of the heavy lorries go.”

And yesterday the Essex Federation of Small Businesses welcomed news that its calls for improvements had been backed.

Bill Pirie, chairman of the mid and north west Essex branch, said: “The A12 is the spinal road linking north east Essex with the M25 motorway and there is no doubt that it can no longer cope with the volume of traffic using it, leading to major delays for motorists whenever even a minor mishap occurs.

“The junction with the A414 for Danbury and Maldon is a particular hotspot which causes concerns and while that is bad enough for the individual driver, for businesses it is an expensive and major problem.

“We are delighted that Maldon and East Chelmsford Member of Parliament, John Whittingdale shares our concerns and has written to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Mr Tom Harris, seeking his comments on the issues we have raised and support for improving the A12.”

The inquiry is due to run for two more days at County Hall, Chelmsford, on May 1 and May 19.

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