The dedicated Taskforce set up to explore the future of the Army and Navy junction met on 10 December 2018 to look at ideas to improve traffic problems at this key gateway into the city of Chelmsford. Members of the Taskforce, including Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford, met to discuss key objectives, funding and the time-frames for delivering any changes to the junction and the flyover. The Army and Navy is a complex junction and the flyover is 40 years old and was built as a temporary traffic solution in 1978.
Taskforce members discussed a wide variety of potential ideas presented to them by engineers and marked the start of a complicated planning and design process to provide an interchange befitting of one of the UK's newest cities. The potential for a variety of approaches was demonstrated including examples of flyovers, under-passes, new connecting roads and the roundabout as well. There is now a clear opportunity to provide new infrastructure for one of Chelmsford's busiest interchanges which helps to improve traffic flow and promotes more sustainable travel.
The design planning and development of any scheme is likely to take a number of years and will require further funding to be secured. Whilst there are many challenges ahead, improvements to the Army and Navy junction will play a key role in enabling future growth, investment, and development in the city and the region for years to come.
Cllr Bentley, Essex County Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Infrastructure said: “We all know that there is no easy solution to fix the traffic congestion at the Army and Navy junction – if there was a simple solution it would have been done. We have some very experienced engineers looking at a variety of ideas to give Chelmsford a better future transport solution at this crucial junction.
“There are a number of different approaches we can take, some of which may not require a flyover at all. What is clear is that simply fixing or replacing the Army & Navy flyover with a one or two-way structure, without considering the alternatives, will only encourage more traffic through the junction and put further pressure on the road network. We also need to bear in mind that Chelmsford is a growing city and will need more capacity. Therefore, we need to consider all possibilities."
Vicky Ford MP said: “This is an opportunity to enhance infrastructure which could have a positive impact beyond the Army and Navy junction and flyover and improve traffic flow in Chelmsford for years to come. We will look at all the ideas that are on the table to make sure that we not only provide capacity but also encourage people to make alternative transport choices. The city continues to grow, and what we do at this junction will be a vital part of ensuring that growth in the city, and the wider region, is sustainable. In order to develop the right scheme the big picture needs to be considered, which might mean re-considering some existing options."
Details of subsequent Taskforce meetings will be reported regularly and will be shared with members of the public to ensure that everyone who is interested is kept informed. Residents, businesses, and organisations will also be given the chance to have their say about the future of the flyover and junction as proposals are developed.
For more information about the scheme and the Taskforce please look here.