December 9, 2016
Options development and assessment.
The process for developing options for any major road scheme is set by Highways England and national guidance.
Figure 1 below shows the steps between starting the A120 Braintree to A12 Feasibility Study to the current list of nine options and finally refined to consultation options
Figure 1 – Option development process
Issues identification and setting objectives
The first step was to identify issues and problems on the current A120. Many will be well known by local and long distance road users, such as congestion, incidents and unreliable journey times
The project team then set objectives. These are the goals or purpose of any ‘new’ option. :
The A120 Braintree to A12 Feasibility Study objectives are:
Creating a long list of options
The first step in generating options is to create a long list of potential options. These are high level and have minimal technical design. The long list of options was created from:
Once a long list has been created each option is looked at in more detail and merged any that were similar and removing any options that would be immediately rejected due to their environmental impact.
The options were then sifted to select a smaller number of options to take forward to the next stage of evaluation.
Sifting is where we assess each option against the objectives and see which ones perform best. The DfT Early Assessment Sifting Tool and transport appraisal process was used as part of the sifting process. This includes criteria such as is it the right strategic fit, does it show value for money, is there a financial and commercial case for doing it, and can it be delivered.
Each option is scored in relation to how well it meets the objectives on a zero to five scale. At this point any option which scored less than two was discarded.
The sifting process created a short list of nine top performing options to take forward to the next stage of assessment and design. These are show in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2: A120 options development: – Nine possible options.
The nine possible options will now be compared against a series of criteria, relating to environmental risk, engineering considerations and value for money, in addition to some further design development to take account of evolving information.
A final sift will then take place and determine the best performing optoins to take forward to consultation.
The consultation is scheduled to take place in early 2017. Please visit www.a120essex.co.uk for more information.
In March 2020, the government announced details of its latest Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), covering April 2020 to March 2025.
The strategy outlines how the government will be investing £27.4 billion in maintaining, improving and building capacity in the strategic road network during the 2020-25 period, including £2.2 billion for the east of England.
The document also looks further ahead and includes a list of ‘pipeline projects’ which will undergo more analysis and design work ahead of being considered for potential future investment.
The A120 Braintree to A12 was identified as a pipeline project and will now be progressed by Highways England.
For more information, email A120braintreetoA12@highwaysengland.co.uk
Although Highways England is now progressing the A120 upgrade, Essex County Council continues to provide regular updates. To receive these please register your email address