Fresh plans to reroute a notoriously busy stretch of the A12 in north Essex have been unveiled.

Highways England has announced its preferred option to widen the A12 between Chelmsford and Rivenhall as well as four new options for a new route between Kelvedon and Marks Tey.

Plans remain in place to widen the 15-mile stretch between Chelmsford and Marks Tey from two lanes to three but progress on the scheme continues to be held up by the proposed garden communities.

Basildon Standard:

The proposals could see 24,000 new homes built close to Marks Tey.

Highways England says it has announced its preferred route to upgrade the road between junctions 19 and 23 so that it can work on the finer details of the plan while discussions over the garden communities continues.

Bosses say a decision over the new route between Kelvedon and Marks Tey will be made next summer.

Stephen Elderkin, Highways England project lead for the A12, said: “The A12 is a key route connecting the East of England to London.

“With the high levels of congestion, it’s a route that Highways England and the Government are committed to improving.

“Our proposed improvements will increase safety and average speeds, so that someone travelling on the A12 daily can expect to save over an hour of travel time each week.”

Roads Minister Baroness Vere added: “I want the A12 to be as safe as possible for the 90,000 people who use it each day.

“That is why we are committed to modernising this major road, supporting growth in the region and improving journeys for all.”

It is hoped a planning application for the entire widening project will be submitted to the Government in 2021 and improvement work will begin no later than 2025.

A projected end date for the scheme is 2027/2028. Those involved with the proposals say it will help to reduce journey times and improve safety.

Figures released by Highways England show crashes which occur on the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey are 20 per cent more likely to be fatal.

A six-week consultation has launched today on the four proposed new routes between Kelvedon and Marks Tey.

A series of public events will be held throughout the consultation.

For more information, visit highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/a12-chelmsford-to-a120-widening-scheme/.