Highways England to investigate options for improving Essex stretch of M11 following concern about collisions

PUBLISHED: 13:31 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 22 February 2019

A crash last month involving two lorries and a car on the M11.

A crash last month involving two lorries and a car on the M11.


Highways England is investigating options to improve the “experience of road users” on the Essex stretch of the M11 following a number of serious collisions.

In response to concern from members of the public about the number of crashes between junction 7 for Harlow and junction 8 for Stansted Airport, Highways England said on Twitter: “The safety of road users is our highest priority. We’re aware there have been a number of incidents on this stretch of M11 recently.

“We’re investigating what viable options are available to us to help improve the experience of road users on this section.”

There have been at least six serious injury or fatal collisions on the Essex stretch of the M11 since April last year and many incidents resulted in an arrest being made.

Studies show the M11 is at capacity, according to Councillor Richard Freeman, Residents for Uttlesford’s shadow cabinet councillor for transport at Uttlesford District Council.

Cllr Freeman is calling for councils to secure money from developers in order to upgrade the motorway and accommodate the traffic from an estimated 48,000 new homes planned for east Hertfordshire and north Essex over the next 15 years.

He said: “The M11 feels like it is closed nearly every other day by an accident. So far this month it has been closed during six days. The reason for this is a failure in long-range planning that has left our roads and railways under severe stress due to a chronic under-investment. It is that simple. This failure costs residents and our economy dearly.

“Both Uttlesford District Council and Essex County Council have had ample opportunity to fix this but they have failed residents. Last year the district council approved the expansion of Stansted Airport but refused to make them pay the estimated £250m to upgrade the M11 to a higher-capacity and safer smart motorway. Uttlesford, East Herts and Harlow councils are allowing 48,000 new homes over the next 15 years, but they are not proposing any major motorway capacity upgrades.

“Residents want to know why the administrations at these councils are refusing to make developers pay.”

Highways England said it addresses any safety-critical defects as a matter of urgency to make sure the M11 remains fit for purpose.

A spokesman said: “The M11 is a vital national asset and we work hard to keep journeys on it safe and reliable. While we keep safety on the M11 under continual review. We reject any suggestion that it is not fit for purpose.”

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