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Independent study highlights need for improvements to ‘difficult, stressful and at times dangerous’ A120 between Braintree and the A12

3 August 2017

Vital work to upgrade the A120 between Braintree and the A12 is urgently needed according to the findings of a new independent report.

Transport user watchdog, Transport Focus, today (Thursday) revealed drivers using the A120 between Braintree and A12 feel the single-carriageway road is “difficult, stressful and at times dangerous.” 

The report, which was commissioned by Transport Focus in conjunction with Essex and Suffolk County Councils with the support of Highways England, also found that: 
  • The A120 is an important part of the local infrastructure for all driver groups
  • The A120 provides an important route in the wider area for accessing key hubs of business, population and transport
  • But overall the A120 between Braintree and the A12 is seen as more congested and of poorer quality than other ‘A’ roads in the region 
  • The single carriageway in this section is insufficient for the volume of traffic 
  • Due to its limited capacity and poor maintenance it is typically thought of as “more of a ‘B’ road”
  • Overall traffic flow is negatively affected by slower moving vehicles 
  • People feel unable to overtake safely
  • The presence of HGVs on a single carriageway road makes some drivers fearful for their safety  

One comment from an HGV driver in the report revealed that the “bumps and lumps” in the road could turn yoghurts being transported for delivery into butter, while one frequent flyer said they add an extra hour to their schedule when flying from London Stansted Airport to accommodate potential queues on this stretch of road. 
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader at Essex County Council, said: “These findings will not come as a surprise to many current users of the A120 and the results support the preliminary results of our own consultation in which more than four out of five respondents that this stretch of the A120 needed to be completely upgraded to a dual carriageway. 
“It is vital our road infrastructure keeps pace with the demands of road users to help ensure we keep our county moving to support economic and housing growth, not just in Essex, but across the country. Be assured that we are now digging into the detail of the consultation we ran earlier this year to build the best case to fund upgrades to create an A120 that works for everyone.”
Last month it was revealed that there was no clear choice for those who responded to five potential route options for an upgraded A120. Option C received 29 per cent, Option E 27 per cent, Option A 17 per cent, Option D 14 per cent and Option B 13 per cent.
Essex County Council is expected to recommend a favoured route option, or options, to the Government this autumn.