A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Preliminary Design Consultation June 2021

Closed 16 Aug 2021

Opened 22 Jun 2021


Investing in your roads

At Highways England, we believe in a connected country where our network makes these connections happen. Our roads link with railway stations, ports and airports to give people a choice of travel and to support interconnectivity. When it comes to getting people where they need to be, we provide three times more miles per person than the railways.

The east of England has 650 miles of motorways and A-roads that supports a growing and vital economy. We recognise that the region contains a mixture of high-tech business and housing growth closer to London, alongside areas of scenic rural fenland, coastal towns and ports. In contrast to the region’s towns closer to London, three-quarters of land in rural East Anglia is used for farming to help feed the nation, and the area also remains a traditional holiday destination.

In addition, we’re also helping UK businesses thrive, furthering the nation’s economic growth through better connections to international hubs. England’s east region has established links to energy production, and now has ambitions to become the UK’s foremost energy coast. There are also major ports in the east region (including Felixstowe, Britain’s busiest, which handles nearly half of all shipping containers) and four airports. To support this, in the last five years we’ve improved 244 miles of roads in the east region which are prone to congestion, as well as upgrading existing A-roads and building new ones to better connect the more rural communities and commerce.

About the scheme

The A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening scheme is identified within the Government’s 2015-2020 Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) and Road Investment Strategy 2 that we are currently working to deliver which states that England’s Strategic Road Network requires upgrading and improving to ensure it can deliver the performance needed to support the nation in the 21st century.

The A12 road is an important economic link in Essex and across the east of England. It provides the main south-west/north-east route through Essex and Suffolk, connecting Ipswich to London and to the M25. In addition, the A12 is an important commuter route between Chelmsford and Colchester however current congestion often leads to delays that results in a driver’s average speed during the morning commute is particularly slow in both directions for a dual carriageway A-road of its kind. 

The section between Chelmsford and Colchester (junction 19 Boreham Interchange to junction 25 Marks Tey Interchange) carries high volumes of traffic, with up to 90,000 vehicles every day. Heavy goods vehicles are between 9% and 12% of the traffic on this section due to its important freight connection, especially to Felixstowe and Harwich ports.

Our proposed improvements to this stretch of the A12 road aims to:

  • improve safety for road users, especially at the junctions and slip roads through better design while also removing the current direct private accesses onto the A12
  • reduce traffic congestion by increasing the capacity of the road, making journey times more reliable. The proposed scheme will save motorists as much as 1.5 hours in a working week if they travel daily between junctions19 and 25
  • take long-distance traffic off the local roads and put it back onto the A12 where it belongs, so that local roads aren’t used as rat runs, affecting local villages and their communities
  • ensure that the road can cope with the predicted increase in traffic from more jobs and homes in the area
  • make improvements for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and public transport users, to give them better connections and safer, more enjoyable journeys

Our consultation brochure explains our proposals for the proposed scheme. We also provide you with details of how you can give us your feedback during our public consultation. Your responses will help us shape the proposals before we submit our Development Consent Order application.

Why your views matter

Development Consent

The A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening scheme is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008. This means that we are required to make an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to obtain permission to construct our proposed improvements.

Before we can submit an application for a DCO, we must formally consult the local community and other stakeholders on our proposals for the scheme and the likely significant environmental effects based on the information available at the time.

Following our preliminary design consultation, an development consent application will then be made to the Planning Inspectorate, who will examine our proposals. The examination process is likely to involve public hearings. Following the examination, the Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will decide whether the project will go ahead.

Within the proposed scheme, there are a range of utilities that will be affected, including the diversion of a number of high pressure gas pipelines that form part of the proposed scheme.  To the extent that these diversions satisfy the criteria to be categorised as an NSIP under the Planning Act 2008, they will be considered NSIPs in their own right.

Our application for development consent will be made on the full route, between junctions 19 and 25 and we intend to submit our application for development consent in spring / summer 2022. Subject to development approval, we expect to start construction in 2023/2024.

In our consultation brochure, we explain the proposals for the scheme. We also provide you with details of how you can give us your feedback during our public consultation. Your responses will help us shape the proposals before we submit our DCO application.

To help us shape the final design in preparation of the submission to the Planning Inspectorate, it is important you are involved now and submit your response by 11.59pm on Monday 16 August 2021.

Further information on the DCO process can be found on the National Infrastructure Planning website and also in our animation video below:

Why we are consulting again

As part of our scheme development, in 2017, we held an Options Consultation to widen the A12 from Chelmsford to the junction with the A120. We presented four options for the stretch of road running from junctions 19 to 25. You can read more about our 2017 consultation and its route options here.

We announced our preferred route based on route 2 that was presented during our options consultation. The proposals widen the existing A12 between junctions 19 and 25 to three lanes in each direction (where it is not already) and create a three-lane bypass in each direction at Rivenhall End. This route reflects the feedback we received on junctions in our first consultation, as well as comments about the Rivenhall End bypass being close to the Rivenhall Long Mortuary Enclosure scheduled monument. The proposals also include constructing a bypass between junctions 24 and 25. The proposed scheme will cover all the work necessary to construct the proposed new road layout.

Our preferred route was selected based on several factors, including environmental impacts, journey times, complexity of build, affordability, feedback from the public and advice given by the Planning Inspectorate on the joint Local Plan for that area.

For more information on our previous consultation results and Preferred Route Announcement, please visit our scheme webpage at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A12.

Following our Options Consultation and our Preferred Route Announcement for adding an extra lane and bypasses to the 15 miles of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey, as part of a £1bn upgrade of the road, over the next eight weeks between Tuesday 22 June and Monday 16 August 2021 we are now consulting further on our design to improve the A12 Chelmsford to A120. 

The proposed design

We are keen to hear your views on our preliminary design for the A12 between junctions 19 to 25, specifically on how our proposals may affect you, your organisation or those you represent in relation to the following:  

  • widening to three lanes in both directions between Hatfield Peverel to Marks Tey
  • a new three-lane bypass at Rivenhall End (junctions 22 to 23)
  • a bypass between junctions 24 to 25
  • improvements made to junctions 19 and 25
  • three new junctions constructed to replace existing junctions 20a, 20b and 23
  • new and improved walking, cycling and horse riding routes.

Please see the below visual flythroughs of our preliminary designs.

A12 Flythrough junction 19 to 21

A12 Flythrough junction 21 to 23

A12 Flythrough junction 23 to 25

Find out more and have your say

Virtual exhibition

One of the best ways to find out more information about our proposals is to visit our Virtual Exhibition during our preliminary design consultation which opens on Tuesday 22 June 2021 and lasts for eight weeks. This can be accessed at any time convenient to you and includes all the materials that you would be able to find at a public exhibition, such as maps and environmental information. We have provided instructions to help you navigate the room.

Virtual Exhibition


If you require help accessing the room, you can get in touch with our project team by emailing A12chelmsfordA120wide@highwaysengland.co.uk or by calling our Customer Contact Centre 0300 123 5000 during business hours.

Related documents

There are many documents available as part of this public consultation. In addition to the consultation brochure and supporting information which can be found at the bottom of this page, we have also produced a Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) of the initial findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This describes the environmental setting and anticipated impacts of the proposed scheme. Figures from the PEIR can be found in the Related Documents section that can be found at the bottom of this page. A Non-Technical Summary of the PEIR has also been prepared to summarise the emerging effects. You can also view a digital version of this document in our virtual exhibition room. 


We will be hosting a series of live online events where our technical experts will talk you through our proposals and answer any questions that you may have.

If you would like to attend one of these, please sign up using the links below. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with our project team by emailing A12chelmsfordA120wide@highwaysengland.co.uk or by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.  

Webinar dates and times
Monday 28 June 2pm – 4pm junction 19 (Boreham Interchange) to junction 21 (between Hatfield Peverel and Witham). Sign up here.
Thursday 1 July 6pm – 8pm – junction 21 (between Hatfield Peverel and Witham) to existing junction 23 (Kelvedon South Interchange). Sign up here.
Tuesday 6 July 2pm – 4pm – existing junction 23 (Kelvedon South Interchange) to junction 25 (Marks Tey Interchange). Sign up here.
Wednesday 4 August 6pm – 8pm – junction 19 (Boreham Interchange) to junction 21 (between Hatfield Peverel and Witham ). Sign up here.
Monday 9 August 10am – 12pm – junction 21 (between Hatfield Peverel and Witham) to existing junction 23 (Kelvedon South Interchange). Sign up here.
Thursday 12 August 6pm – 8pm – existing junction 23 (Kelvedon South Interchange) to junction 25 (Marks Tey Interchange). Sign up here.


Subject to the government’s COVID-19 guidelines, we plan to hold public exhibitions. Here you can find out more about the proposed scheme and speak to members of the project team who will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Any changes to plans will be updated on our scheme webpage at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A12, and in the local media.

Date Time  Location

Thursday 8 July

 2pm - 8pm

Rivenhall Hotel, Rivenhall End, Witham, CM8 3HB

Saturday 10 July

12pm – 5pm

Spring Lodge Community Centre, Powers Hall End, Witham, CM8 2HE

Thursday 15 July

2pm – 8pm

St Andrew’s Parish Church, Church Road, Hatfield Peverel, CM3 2LE

Friday 23 July

2pm – 8pm

Marks Tey Village Hall, Old London Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, CO6 1EJ

Saturday 24 July

12pm - 5pm

Springfield Parish Hall, St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM1 6GX

Tuesday 27 July

2pm - 8pm

Feering Community Centre, Coggeshall Road, Feering, Colchester, CO5 9QB


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the first three events will only allow for 30 people (including staff) to gather in our outdoor exhibition at any one time. As such, you may be asked to wait in a socially distanced way before you can join the event. We thank you for your understanding. We will continue to hold all these events in accordance with government guidelines at the time.

Furthermore, all our face to face events are subject to government guidelines and last minute cancellation therefore, prior to attending any of our public exhibitions, you can check in advance if events are scheduled to go ahead by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000 or by emailing A12chelmsfordA120wide@highwaysengland.co.uk

Where to get a hard copy or accessible version of the consultation brochure

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, hard copies of the Consultation Brochure and Response Form will be available for eight weeks at pick up locations below. Venues will also have memory sticks with copies of the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR). Availability will depend on venue opening times and any venue restrictions. Prior to attending any of the locations below, please contact the venue in advance. More information, including contact details, can be accessed by clicking on the venue name below.


Braintree Library

Fairfield Road, Braintree, CM7 3YL

Chelmsford City Council

Customer Service Centre, Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE

Colchester Library and Community Hub 

Colchester Library, Trinity Square, Colchester, CO1 1JB

Copford Village Hall

School Road, Copford, Colchester CO6 1BX

Essex County Council

County Hall, Market Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1QH

Hatfield Peverel Library

The Street, Hatfield Peverel, Chelmsford, CM3 2DP

High Chelmer Shopping Centre

15A Exchange Way, Chelmsford CM1 1XB

Kelvedon Library

Aylett’s Foundation School, Maldon Road, Kelvedon, CO5 9BA

Maldon Town Council

Market Hill, Maldon CM9 4RL

Marks Tey Parish Council

Old London Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, CO6 1EJ

Springfield Library

St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford CM1 6GX

St Mary’s Parish Church

Easthorpe Road, Easthorpe, Colchester CO5 9HD

Tiptree Library

Rectory Road, Tiptree, CO5 0SX

Witham Library

18 Newland Street, Witham, CM8 2AQ


If you require an accessible version of the consultation brochure, additional copies, or require materials posting to you, please get in touch with our project team by emailing A12chelmsfordA120wide@highwaysengland.co.uk or by calling our Customer Contact Centre 0300 123 5000.

What happens next

Once our public consultation closes at 11.59pm on Monday 16 August 2021, we will review all feedback received. We will take time to analyse and consider your views when making further refinements to the proposed design and to develop our planned mitigation measures. We will set out a summary of the responses and describe how the proposals have been informed by and influenced by them in a consultation report. This will form part of our application for development consent and will also be available to the public following submission of the application.

Once we submit a DCO application, the Planning Inspectorate (acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport (SoS) will examine the application and hold some public hearings, before making a recommendation to the SoS, who will decide on whether or not the proposed scheme will go ahead.

Where we consider it appropriate, and before submitting our DCO application, we may choose to undertake further targeted consultation on certain changes to the proposed scheme made in response to consultation feedback or updated technical information. Such consultation will be for a minimum of 28 days. The process for the next project steps is shown in the below diagram.


  • All members of the public


  • Roads