A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme which will deliver a new rapid transit system to serve Colchester will begin next month.

The service will run from Colchester’s Park and Ride by the A12, through the city centre, heading east to the Tendring Colchester Garden Community.

The garden community will see between 7,500 and 9,000 homes built on the Tendring-Colchester border near Elmstead, constructed over the next 20 years.

As part of the £99 million scheme, a link road connecting the A120 and A133 is to be built, along with a rapid transit system.

Bosses at Essex County Council and Colchester Council have now confirmed works will begin on January 16.

Gazette: Vision - a drawing of the planned rapid transit systemVision - a drawing of the planned rapid transit system (Image: Essex County Council)

Traffic management will be in place outside of peak traffic hours until the end of February Lexden and Braiswick councillor Lewis Barber welcomed the news, hailing the project an “exciting” one.

He added: “We must cut congestion otherwise our economy and air quality will be damaged further.”

But Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell said he feels the scheme is “flawed”.

“During congested periods of the day, perhaps two minutes might be shaved off the bus journey travelling from the Park and Ride site down the Northern Approach Road,” said the former MP.

"However, that time saved is immediately lost because buses are now banned from the purpose-built lane from under North Station railway bridge to the Essex Hall Roundabout.”

Gazette: Infrastructure - a graphic of the planned new roadInfrastructure - a graphic of the planned new road (Image: Essex County Council)

Essex County Council submitted plans for the 2.4km dual-carriageway link road and rapid transit system in 2021.

The work will be funded through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund and is hoped to conclude in 2025.

The planned 50mph route will leave the A133 via a roundabout east of the University of Essex, joining the A120 via a junction east of Bromley Road.

The new rapid transit system will run from a proposed new “Park and Choose” site at the garden community.

A Park and Choose is an evolution of Park and Ride, creating a transport hub for people looking to use alternatives to cars, County Hall has explained.