A12 widening: consultation expected next month
Public consultation on the widening of the A12 between Chelmsford and the A120 should begin next month (June), Highways England has announced.
Before any work can begin on the scheme, the length of the proposed route will be “investigated for undiscovered archaeology and evidence of local cultural heritage buried in the earth”.
Already some 28 archaeological sites have been identified within the 15-mile footprint of the proposed scheme between Chelmsford and Marks Tey.
The government agency says that between May and mid-November it will have some 100 archaeologists searching for “archaeology from all periods, including medieval sites near Rivenhall End as well as Mesolithic to the Iron Age activity near Hatfield Peverel”.
The widening is planned to stretch from junction 19 at Chelmsford to junction 25, the A120 interchange, “to ease congestion and cope with increasing traffic demands”.
Highways England says: “This road [A12] struggles to cope with existing peak traffic levels, resulting in delays and reduced speeds. With few available diversions, accidents lead to traffic disruption over a wide area.
“The projected growth in population and local development in the area will only increase the pressures on this road.”
The widening to three lanes in each direction is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, meaning Highways England must win a Development Consent Order for the scheme to go ahead.
The project forms part of a wider package of roads investment in the area, with the A120 between Braintree and the A12 scheduled to be dualled.