Widening the A12 to ‘stop congestion’ the most misconceived infrastructure scheme in the UK

Highways Agency

The A12 road is an important economic link. It provides the main south-west/north-east route through Essex and Suffolk, connecting Ipswich to London and the M25.

The section between Chelmsford and Colchester (junction 19 Boreham Interchange to junction 25 Marks Tey Interchange) carries high volumes of traffic, with up to 90,000 vehicles every day. Heavy goods vehicles are between 9% and 12% of the traffic on this section due to its important freight connection, especially to Felixstowe and Harwich ports. This section of the A12 is also an important commuter route. The resulting congestion leads to delays and means that, during the morning commute, a driver’s average speed is particularly slow in both directions for a dual carriageway A-road of its kind.

The proposed changes to this stretch of the A12 road will:

  • improve safety for road users, especially at the junctions and slip roads through better design while also removing the current direct private accesses onto the A12
  • reduce traffic congestion by increasing the capacity of the road, making journey times more reliable. The proposed scheme will save motorists as much as 1.5 hours in a working week if they travel daily between junctions 19 and 25
  • take long-distance traffic off the local roads and put it back onto the A12 where it belongs, so that local roads aren’t used as rat runs, affecting local villages and their communities
  • ensure that the road can cope with the predicted increase in traffic from more jobs and homes in the area
  • make improvements for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and public transport users, to give them better connections and safer, more enjoyable journeys

What are the odds after a few months journy times are back to the original because of induced traffic. All transport theory tells us that.

What it also tells us is that there is a public transport deficit. The rail route through to Ipswich and Norwich should be four tracked to allow for stopping services and Garden Communities.