WORK is underway to test the ground conditions under the A12 to pave the way for widening a 15 mile stretch of the route.

Highways England is investigating 423 sites along the road between Marks Tey and Chelmsford.

It is the beginning of the process to add an extra lane to the A12 in each direction and save around eight minutes.

There are approximately 83,000 journeys made on the road every day.

Ground surveys are being carried out to help to develop the proposals by giving engineers a clearer picture of the type of soils, rock and groundwater beneath the proposed new road.

Stephen Elderkin, project director for the A12 upgrade, said: "The complex programme of tests and surveys we’re undertaking will enable us to better understand the ground conditions, and help us build the road safely and in a way which protects the environment, while keeping costs down.

“You can expect to see survey vehicles and equipment in operation on and close to the A12.

"This is not the start of any construction work - the survey findings will help us develop our road designs, including junctions and structures.

"Instead, this preliminary work will help us to give the clearest possible picture of what will be involved in upgrading the road when we apply for planning consent in 2021, and help ensure our construction programme can get the new road open for 2028."


There will be overnight road closures from 8pm to 6am on the A12 to allow the initial survey phases to be carried out. They will take place at the following locations and times:

• Junctions 22 to 19 on the A12 westbound until Friday March 13

• Junctions 23 to 25 on the A12 eastbound from Monday March 16 to Friday April 3

• Junctions 25 to 22 on the A12 westbound from Monday April 6 to Friday May 1

Further surveys will run until the end of August.

Highways England’s preferred route for the western section between junctions 19 and 23 has been confirmed.

There are a number of possible route options for the eastern section between junctions 23 and 25, depending on whether West Tey is given the go ahead.