Will new improvements to A120 in Essex be enough to cut congestion?

BRAINTREE MP Brooks Newmark has welcomed fresh investment in the A120 and said he hopes it will lead to the road being fully upgraded.

He was speaking after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced �300,000 of improvements to Galleys Corner roundabout at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

The project’s green light – which it is hoped will improve access to Stansted from north-east Essex – comes after a �500million scheme to dual the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey was scrapped in 2009.

But both Mr Newmark and Councillor Graham Butland, leader of Braintree District Council, said they hoped yesterday’s announcement would lead to the project being put back on the table.

“I hope this is the beginning of unfinished business,” said Mr Newmark. “This is an first important step towards the dualing project.

“Galleys Corner is known locally as Cholesterol Corner - not because of the KFC and McDonald’s there but because of the congestion of a majority artery that goes from west to east Essex.”

It is understood the improvements will see the roundabout’s size reduced, allowing two lanes of traffic to go straight on, as opposed to just one now.

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The �300,000 of spending was part of a �217m package announced by Mr McLoughlin to cut congestion and accelerate growth.

Included in the package was a �7.7m scheme to widen the A14 near Cambridge.

Mr Butland said: “I don’t want to be churlish, I welcome �300,000 and hope it will bring some relief. But this is not a full solution for the A120.

“We don’t see this as being the end but the beginning, clearly the long term solution is going to need much more money.

“We have got to be realistic, public money is not around at the moment.

“I never get insulted by people putting money into the district, I have learned there is more than one way to skin a cat.

“We’ll make sure the Highways Agency knows this is not the end of it.”

Meanwhile David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Anything that’s going to bring improvements to the A120 is to be welcomed.

“It’s been the Cinderella road in Essex so the fact the Government has recognised that is to be welcomed by businesses and residents alike.

“I think it’s extremely important - Stansted is a major economic driver in Essex. It’s a major employer, if not the biggest in the county.”

Mr McLoughlin said: “These �217m road improvements prove the government’s determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.

“Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity.

“By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy.”