A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Supplementary Design Consultation November 2021

Closed 19 Dec 2021

Opened 9 Nov 2021


Investing in your roads

motorway at night

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 supplementary consultation brochure explains our proposals for the proposed scheme. We also provide you with details of how you can give us your feedback. 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, a 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 supplementary consultation brochure, we explain our updated proposals for the scheme. We also provide you with details of how you can give us your feedback. 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 Sunday 19th December 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, we held a statutory consultation between Tuesday 22 June and Monday 16 August 2021. Following this, we have looked at your feedback and made some further changes to our proposals. We are now consulting further on our design to improve the A12 Chelmsford to A120. 

This is your opportunity to have your say on those changes before we submit our planning application in 2022.

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 updated proposals may affect you, your organisation or those you represent in relation to the following:  

  • removal of junction 21 Southern link road, so the traffic will use a new and enhanced northern link road via Wellington Bridge to access the proposed junction 21 alongside walkers, cyclist and horse riders 
  • removal of proposed noise barriers through Hatfield Peverel to be replaced with improved road surfacing with better noise performance  
  • options for Gas Main Diversion corridors near Witham
  • temporary removal of a noise barrier at Market Lane to enable construction of the proposed scheme  
  • local road interventions at Inworth Road 
  • closure of Easthorpe Road access to the A12 (except walkers, cyclists, horse riders, emergency services and private agricultural access). 

Find out more and have your say

Virtual exhibition

One of the best ways to find out more information about our updated proposals is to visit our Virtual Exhibition during our preliminary design consultation which opens on 9 November 2021and lasts for five 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 various documents available as part of this public consultation.

Public Consultation Brochure

Audio version of Consultation Brochure

Consultation Poster

Preliminary Design Map Book 1 Updated General Arrangements 1 of 3 November 2021

Preliminary Design Map Book 1 Updated General Arrangements 2 of 3 November 2021

Preliminary Design Map Book 1 Updated General Arrangements 3 of 3 November 2021

Preliminary Design Map Book 2 Updated Land Use Plans 1 of 3 November 2021

Preliminary Design Map Book 2 Updated Land Use Plans 2 of 3 November 2021

Preliminary Design Map Book 2 Updated Land Use Plans 3 of 3 November 2021

A guide to understanding the map books

Supplementary consultation: environmental report

Consultation response form

Virtual Consultation Exhibition

Online drop-in events

These will be online events where you can drop into a session at any time during the allocated slot. Technical experts will talk you through our proposed updates and answer any specific questions. 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.

Date Time Sign-up
17/11/2021 09:00 - 13:00 Sign-up
22/11/2021 14:00 - 18:00 Sign-up
02/12/2021 16:00 - 20:00 Sign-up

Drop-in events

Subject to the government’s COVID-19 guidelines, we plan to hold a number of drop-in events. Here you can find out more about our updates and speak to members of the project team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.





Hatfield Peverel Village Hall

Maldon Rd, Hatfield Peverel, Chelmsford CM3 2HW

Tuesday 23 November

2pm – 6.30pm

Messing Village Hall 

The St, Messing, Colchester CO5 9TN

Thursday 25 November

4pm – 6.30pm

Spring Lodge Community Centre

Powers Hall End, Witham CM8 2HE

Friday 26 November

3pm – 7pm


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

We have an accessible audio version of the consultation brochure created by the Chelmsford Talking Newspaper: Audible Consultation Brochure.

Subject to COVID-19 restrictions, hard copies of the consultation brochure and response form will be available at the following locations from Tuesday 9 November 2021. Availability will depend on venue opening times and any venue restrictions. Please call the venue ahead to check that they are open and have copies available.



Opening hours

Braintree Library

Fairfield Road, Braintree, CM7 3YL

Monday 9am – 7pm

Tuesday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm Saturday 9am – 5pm

Chelmsford City Council Customer Service Centre

Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JE

Monday to Friday 8.45am – 4.45pm

Colchester Library and Community Hub

Colchester Library, Trinity Square, Colchester, CO1 1JB

Monday to Tuesday 5.30pm

Wednesday 9am – 7pm

Thursday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm

Sunday 1pm – 4pm

Essex County Council County Hall

Market Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1QH

Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm

Hatfield Peverel Library

The Street, Hatfield Peverel, Chelmsford, CM3 2DP

Tuesday 2pm – 7pm

Wednesday 9am – 1pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm

High Chelmer Shopping Centre

15A Exchange Way, Chelmsford, CM1 1XB

Monday to Saturday 7am – 6.30pm Sunday 9.30am – 5pm

Kelvedon Library

Aylett's Foundation School, Maldon Road, Kelvedon, C05 9BA

Monday 2pm – 5.30pm

Thursday 9am – 1pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm

Maldon Town Council Offices

Market Hill, Maldon, CM9 4RL

Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm

Marks Tey Parish Hall

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

Open for certain events


The Old Crown, Lodge Road, Messing, Colchester, CO5 9TU

Monday – Sunday 12pm – 11pm

Oak Stores - Rivenhall

Church Rd, Rivenhall, Witham CM8 3PQ

Monday to Saturday 6am – 10pm

Sunday 7am – 10pm

Springfield Library

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

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 1am – 5pm

Saturday 10am – 1pm

St Mary's Parish Church

Easthorpe Road, Easthorpe, Colchester, CO5 9HD

Open for certain events

Tiptree Library

Rectory Road, Tiptree, CO5 0SX

Monday 9am – 5.30pm

Thursday 2pm – 7pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm

Witham Library

18 Newland Street, Witham, CM8 2AQ

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am – 5.30pm

Wednesday 9am – 7pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm


If you require an accessible version of the supplementary 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 supplementary consultation closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 19th December 2021, we will review all feedback received. 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.

Consultation Process


  • All members of the public


  • Roads