An upgrade to the A120 between Braintree and the A12 has taken a big step forward after Essex County Council’s Cabinet supported four viable route options.
Cabinet met today (Thursday) and agreed to push forward with four route options which form two route alignments and approaches to connect with the A12, with alternative starting points around the Braintree Bypass. Further technical studies will continue with the final decision on if and what route to fund being taken by the Government.
Options B, C, D and E remain viable and can be supported at this stage by Essex County Council. Option A, which closely followed the route of the old A120 but was chosen as last choice by more than 60% of consultees, has been confirmed as not viable and will not be recommended.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader at Essex County Council, said: “We are currently on track to deliver a vital upgrade to the A120.
“An improved A120 would create a gateway to north Essex and beyond – allowing our local businesses, ports and airports to continue to grow by moving staff and freight quickly and efficiently across the country.
“This would support economic growth not only in East Anglia but also across the rest of Britain. It would also reduce congestion and give more reliable journey times for our residents and businesses.
“Without heavy investment now we risk choking the supply chain to large and small businesses across the country, killing our economy and clogging up our road network for decades to come.”
He continued: “Some may have expected one single route to emerge at this stage, but the consultation and our work around it has been clear.
“Four routes offer standout cases and it is only right that we keep these on the table for further consideration for funding by the Government.
“We should be very proud of the work we have done so far to build a strong case for improvements to the A120 thanks to feedback from nearly 3,000 residents and businesses; but this is not the end of the line and we will continue technical studies into each of the four remaining route options.
“We have heard the public loud and clear – improvements to the A120 are long overdue.
“Now we need that voice to be directed to Government so we can secure the funding to make upgrades to the A120 a reality as soon as possible without delay.”
Technical studies will now continue throughout the winter and spring to help inform a favoured route option for the A120.
Essex County Council aims to get the A120 Braintree to A12 upgrade into the Government’s Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2), a pot of Government money specifically set aside for investing in strategic roads across the country between 2020 and 2025. This is expected to be announced in 2019.
For more information on the A120 Braintree to the A12 consultation and the next stages, please visit www.A120essex.co.uk.