MAJOR improvements to the A12 costing £120 million have been recommended to get the go-ahead by regional chiefs.
A package of cutting edge technology and work to cut the number of accidents and improve the flow of traffic along the road once dubbed Britain’s worst looks set to get the thumbs-up from the East of England Regional Assembly (Eera) at the end of January.
In November, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon offered a £60 million technology package, including variable message signs and automatic detection sensors, for the road, but only if the money was matched by the region.
Eera’s regional transport forum was originally recommended to only offer £50 million of an estimated £800 million package for transport improvements on the trunk road, with authorities in Essex and Suffolk asked to stump up the remainder.
However, lobbying from both county councils convinced the forum to recommend to grant all £60 million in plans which were agreed by the assembly’s regional planning panel later that day.
If approved by a meeting of the full assembly on January 30, the Highways Agency will spend the next few months drawing up the improvements.
Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield said: “This package will help address some of the appalling incidents and delays we see far too regularly on the A12.
“We have recently set up the A12 Alliance, which will help to tackle some of the interim problems through a joined-up approach from a variety of authorities and agencies and will bring about tangible benefits to motorists this year.
“Meanwhile, I welcome the fact that the Government have at last recognised the problems of ‘Britain’s worst road’ so that we can get on with delivering the better quality of life our residents deserve.”
If successful the work will still fall short of one key recommendation of last year’s independent inquiry into the A12, which was to bring the stretch in Essex up to “modern dual lane” standard.
Work is due to start in 2011/12.