A £99million link road connecting the A120 and A133 is set to improve traffic flow in Colchester. 

The leader of Essex County Council, David Finch, has welcomed a £318 million government infrastructure funding boost which will bring road and rail transport benefits including a new railway station for Chelmsford and a rapid transport system for Colchester.

Two multi-million-pounds projects – covering the North East Bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station in Chelmsford, and the A120/A133 link road and rapid transit system in Colchester and north east Essex, will help ensure growth and improve connectivity.

Both projects were the subject of Housing Infrastructure Funds bids, supported by the County Council and City, Borough and District Councils and local MPs.

David Finch said: “We are delighted the government has recognised the value of these projects and confirmed we will have much needed investment to support vital infrastructure and unlock housing growth.

“The announcement is truly reflective of just how key road, rail and public transport networks are for Essex’s growth, helping create the conditions for our economy and communities to grow in a sustainable way. We are pleased that Government has recognised this with over half of the £600m HIF money being directed to Essex.

“Chelmsford and Colchester are already great places for people to live and for businesses to thrive and this funding will help grow the attraction of both places for generations to come.

"The new Beaulieu railway station on the outskirts of Chelmsford will provide access to the Great Eastern Main Line, relieve crowding at Chelmsford station (the country’s busiest 2-platform station) and support the construction of thousands of new homes at Beaulieu Park and the Channels estate.

"Combined with the Chelmsford North East Bypass, which will run between the A12 and A131, this will help to relieve traffic congestion on local roads, providing a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport and the wider east and southeast of England, including South Essex and the Lower Thames Crossing.

"Currently, there is only 4 per cent space left on Chelmsford’s roads during the morning and evening peak periods.

"North-east of Colchester, a new rapid transit system will keep the town moving by providing fast access to the centre and the railway stations, helping commuters and taking traffic off the already congested local road network.

"A new road linking the A120 and A133 will also unlock land to provide up to 7,500 new homes and will improve connectivity locally and within the wider region.

"This infrastructure will enable the network to be more flexible and resilient for new and existing residents, which will help Essex to continue to be an effective gateway to Europe through its ports and airports in the years to come.

"Finally I would like to thank all those involved in preparing the bids across the Essex partnership, the investment today is an excellent demonstration of value for money for the £2m we invested to develop these bids."

The total combined funding for both projects is £318million, split as follows: £218 million to build Beaulieu railway station and Phase 1 of the Chelmsford North East Bypass and £99 million for the A120/A133 link road and Rapid Transit System in Colchester.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, announced the funding alongside four other schemes across the country. He specifically mentioned the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community bid from Essex County Council to deliver a new single carriageway link road to unlock up to 7,500 homes.

What developments do we know about so far? Essex County Council has issued this update below: 

Housing Growth in North Essex – A12 realignment 

The main proposal is to realign the A12 between Kelvedon and Marks Tey. Moving the position of the A12 to the east of its existing alignment would facilitate and realise the growth potential of this part of North Essex.

Essex County Council plans to complement the realignment with a completely new junction 25 which will provide direct access to the proposed Garden Community, signalising junction 23 at Kelvedon where the A12 meets a new A120 to facilitate traffic flow and widening of the Kelvedon Bypass to four lanes in each direction to accommodate future traffic volumes.

It hopes to reduce traffic bottlenecks, making journey times shorter and more reliable.

A120 / A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System

A rapid transit system will prioritise public transport on key routes in Colchester. It will enable housing growth and deliver transformational modal shift, allowing new and existing residents to benefit from frequent, high-quality, reliable transport connecting to the places they want to go. 

The system will service the new Park and Ride and help to better connect the planned Garden Community on the borders of Colchester and Tendring with the rest of the town.

Linking the A120 and A133 with a new road will unlock land to provide housing and will improve connectivity locally and within the wider region. It will also serve new park and ride sites and relieve traffic going to the University of Essex and its Knowledge Gateway technology and research park. Both are major employers and key contributors to the UK economy.