August 20 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Thursday, April 10, 2014
A three-lane A12 is not merely a “pipedream”, an Essex MP has claimed after meeting transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin this week.
Chelmsford’s Simon Burns, who left the transport department in the last reshuffle, said he had been assured the government is investing heavily in the major road network, with the A12 and A120 both being considered in its plans for the East.
Mr Burns said he was “extremely heartened” by the conversation, which he left with hopes that the A12 might benefit from spending plans that will see the roads budget treble, to around £3billion a year by 2020/21.
How this money is spent on the Highways Agency’s network will be informed by a programme of “route-based strategies”, the results of which will be brought together to form a future Roads Investment Strategy – a blueprint for the whole network, which is due to be completed by next spring.
Mr Burns said the A12, along with the A120, was being considered as part of the East of England route – the vital artery connecting London, Essex, East Anglia and the east coast ports.
He said: “The Highways Agency has been working with local partners to gather evidence about the challenges on all its routes and will continue to do so as options for addressing those issues and opportunities (such as investment in widening, junctions or technology) take shape over the coming months.
“This is extremely encouraging news and shows that upgrading the A12 is not merely a pipedream but potentially could become a reality due to its importance as a major road route through Essex into the hinterland of East Anglia and I will continue to press the government over the coming months.”
A DfT spokesperson said: “The government has made a £28bn commitment to roads over the next six years.
“To make sure the money is spent wisely, we are working closely with stakeholders to identify and solve the problems on our road network.
“The first evidence-gathering stages of a number of route strategies, including the A12 in Essex, are to be published shortly, with further details announced in 2015.”