A vital stage in the process of upgrading the A120 to help boost the economy and infrastructure in Essex has been reached this week.
Four options for a dual carriageway A120 between Braintree and the A12 have been assessed as viable in the preliminary results of a public consultation and feasibility study.
Essex County Council has published the study a week ahead of its next Cabinet meeting (23 November) in which a route option or options will be agreed.
From there, a recommendation on a preferred route option or options will be decided on through further study and passed to the Government which will make the final decision on the funding for a single route.
The results of the feasibility study and consultation state four routes (route B, C, D, E) are viable, while a fifth (route A) enjoyed less support and is assessed as having less potential to fulfil the objectives set for the project at the outset of the study.
More than 4 out of 5 people said they believe upgrades are needed to the A120 between Braintree and the A12 following thousands of consultation responses from residents, businesses and commuters.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council, has welcomed the results as an opportunity to make history and create a modern gateway to the UK for drivers, businesses and freight.
He said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation.
“We had an overwhelming response and have heard the public loud and clear – improvements are long overdue on this stretch of the A120.
“We now have an opportunity to make history and build a road that will benefit people’s lives for decades to come.
“An improved A120 would form a modern gateway to the UK for drivers, businesses and freight travelling not only within our county but across the country.
“I will be taking the views of nearly 3,000 residents, businesses and commuters who took part in the consultation into our cabinet meeting next week.
“I plan to come out of that meeting with a viable route option or options to recommend to Government for further detailed technical consideration so our residents and businesses can feel the positive effects of this new road as soon as possible.”
The A120 Braintree to the A12 plans were submitted to a recent Highways England project assurance review. The review team concluded that the project team is on track to identify a viable scheme for consideration for the Government to include in the 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.
In doing so, they gave the project a ‘green’ Delivery Confidence Assessment which is an unusually high rating for a project of this complexity at this stage of its development.
You can find out more by viewing the cabinet papers on Essex County Council’s website.