Mr Chris Shuker
Highways Agency
Heron House
49-53 Goldington Road
Bedford MK40 3LL

31st March 2005


Dear Sir,

Re - Proposed A120 Braintree to Feering to Marks Tey improvements

Further to your recent seminars and public discussions I must write to you, as requested and formally object to the way in which the Highways Agency is proposing the route of the much publicised A120 Braintree to Marks Tey link road.

Please find detailed below a list of questions that I would like answered as I was unable to get a satisfactory answer from your representatives at the exhibitions.

1.††††††† Why is the road project being called the A120 Braintree to Marks Tey link when the road is being proposed to join Kelvedon on the A12,would you also

        Comment on why the A12 is being burdened for another 8 miles of A120 traffic, surely it would be beneficial to keep this to a minimum.

        Why the A120 is being given priority over the much more congested A12

2.††††††† Why is the road being taken from the existing dual carriageway 3 miles south of the Marks Hall Roundabout at Braintree, considering?

        A perfectly good dual carriageway exists to this roundabout already.

        With the current cost of building roads and the necessity to reduce the environmental impact, why is this section of dual carriageway now being downgraded for local traffic only?

3.††††††† Can you confirm if there has been any discussion with the Highways Agency in respect of the proposed Incinerator Plant depot planned for Rivenhall Airfield, bearing in mind the proposed southern road scheme passes through it? If so

  • Will that information become accessible under the Freedom of Information act?
  • Is there any correlation to the Southern route proposals?

4.††††††† Can you provide data for the impact on the number of residents affected by the southern route, northern route and upgrading the old road (middle route)?

†††††††††† Can you also confirm the following:-

  • What is the modal traffic flow along the A120 at Marks Tey, at peak and off peak times
  • What is the modal traffic flow at Braintree for a similar period above
  • What would be the estimated through traffic from these studies
  • What is the resultant total attributable to local traffic.
  • What local traffic will be denied access to the A120 due to restrictive entry / exit slip roads causing longer journeys for local traffic movement

5.††††††† Can you provide the Highways Agency or any external consultantís conclusions as to why it needs to construct approx 3 miles of additional road at Braintree and re-construct approx 8 miles of the A12 north of Kelvedon?

6.††††††† Has an environmental impact assessment been undertaken on the effects to the River Blackwater, in particular?

  • Where will the road drainage be discharged?
  • What consideration has been given to the valley of the Blackwater at Coggeshall Hamlet and surrounding areas?
  • Will the water quality be affected?
  • Will the marine and aquatic life be affected?
  • Will it meet the Water Framework Directive?

7.††††††† Can you provide, based on current costs, the projected expenditure for all the proposals put forward so far, with the middle route included into the analysis.

8.††††††† Can you explain why the southern route is the preferred route with no other detailed plans being made available for public discussion and review?

9.††††††† Much of the road on the southern route cannot always follow high elevation countryside to avoid flooding dangers from the River Blackwater.

        What plans are in place to counteract localised flooding on the proposed road?

10.What sections of the road as it enters densely populated areas will be visible or submerged below the natural datum line, in particular?

        At Braintree

        At Silver End

        At Cressing

        At Coggeshall Hamlet

        At Feering

And what effects will be made to minimise road noise?

11.††††† Will the new road go over the railway line, or below it? Taking into account the following:-

        If the south route at Feering is the chosen option, the rail line is approx ľ mile away, how will this affect the road elevation to and from the A12, and how will this interact with the adjacent countryside?

        How can it be screened as suggested?

        What consideration is being given to the northern route, if adopted, the rail line north of Marks Tey is within 50m of the road. Any elevated section could be incorporated and lead naturally into a bridge without any impact to the community whatsoever as this area is scarcely populated?

        Depending on the access position, the rail line North of Marks Tey is in a natural depression anyway, thus making it simpler from an engineering view to transverse this, has this been considered?

12.††††† Why is a roundabout intersection being considered at Feering, in particular?

        This will lead to a major bottleneck and increased traffic noise?

        This goes against your primary consideration not mention moving the current congestion problems at Gallows Corner roundabout to the new junction at Feering?

        Why this is considered a satisfactory option.

13.††††† The intersection for local traffic at the a120 / A12 junction would not be user friendly to local traffic which is against your primary objective.

14†††††† In your opening considerations you are prepared to move the traffic so it does not affect residents on the existing A120.

  • Why do you consider it is necessary to move the problem to the residents of Cressing, Silver End, Feering and Kelvedon again against your primary objective?

15.††††† The A120 road shown on your map will continue through from a valley of the River Blackwater and will need to rise sharply to overcome the hill.

  • On top of the hill are a substantial array of high voltage pylons and power station. How will this be overcome?

16†††††† If the Southern route is accepted what will be the impact to residents within the noise boundary of the new road, also consider.

  • How many people are affected by the A120 as it stands at present? The existing road actually has 70 houses along it from Marks Hall roundabout in Braintree to the beginning of Marks Tey village. (Ignoring Coggeshall village which is bypassed and Bradwell village which could easily be bypassed).

17.††††† If the Southern route is accepted what restrictions and facilities will be implemented to stop the local traffic at London & Inworth road being used as a rat run?The B1023 from Tiptree enters Feering at a junction with Feering Hill (Gore Pit) presently A12 bound traffic can only turn right to go north or turn left to go South passing through Kelvedon. The scheme proposed would encourage the traffic to turn right only and head for the new A12 / A120 junction north of Feering where it will be able to travel North & South.The Gore Pit junction is a serious accident black spot area and the increased traffic turning right would cause severe delays, disruption to the local community and decrease road safety?

18.††††† Why isnít there an A120 scheme to build a two lane carriageway adjacent to the existing road east bound, and utilize the extg road for westbound traffic? Much of the A120 is bound by hedgerows.

19.††††† If safety is an issue being given for the for residents already on the A120 road, †† what consideration, if any, is being given to residents around the A12 at Mark Tey †††††† and other residents along the A12 and neighbouring road networks

20†††††† Why is there a need to spend huge amounts of money in building a 3rd lane from †† Kelvedon to Marks Tey in both directions?

        When a substantial sum of money has already just been spent on re-surfacing this section of dual carriageway?

  • Could the money have been wisely spent resurfacing and improving the roads not being affected by these proposals, which by the way have been left untouched and in a bad state of repair?
  • Why was a considerable amount of money spent on a new 8 mile cycle path from Feering to Marks Tey when it will be demolished when the 3rd lane is installed?
  • Would you consider this to be wise use of public money so far?

21.†††† Your consideration is to lessen the impact of the environment and utilise †††††††††† agricultural land,

        Why the southern route? When identical land to the north of the extg A120 is also predominantly agricultural, again against your primary objective?

21.††††† Your reasoning that the A120 is a major link to the M11 from Harwich, taking into consideration that your assessment of 30,000 vehicles per day will be †††††††††† travelling this route what considerations have been taken to

        Minimise the impact to rural communities along the proposed routes.

        The burden to businesses and the public forced to travel south from Marks Tey to Kelvedon and then back onto Braintree.

        The additional cost to the road user in travelling approx 8 miles further than is actually needed.

        The impact to the environment based on Government guidelines to reduce car emissions and wasteful journeys

        Please explain why the link road is not more direct i.e. taken from the extg 3 lane carriage way north of Marks Tey.

        Please explain why the A12 is being improved to 3 lane in this area, and how will this improve road safety and interact with the extg 2 lane carriageways of the A12

22.††††† How will residents along the A12 Feering to Marks Tey section be disadvantaged by the 3rd lane over and above those on the A120?

        and how will road safety be achieved when the residents wish to exit their properties onto a more major road than the A120

        How will businesses and local residents on the south bound slip road / access road at Marks Tey are affected by the 3rd lane carriageway.

        How will the extg A120 slip rd at Marks Tey, onto the A12 on both carriageways be re-constructed

        How will the extg bicycle path from Feering to Marks Tey be re-established

23.††††† of the 329 incidents stated in your document, over a 5 year period:-

  • How many of these were situated a notorious black spots of Mark Hall, Gallows Corner roundabouts
  • B1024 / A120 Coggeshall interchange
  • Marks Tey village along the A120
  • Why is the Highways Agency keen to address these issues now on a massive scale when localised road improvements through better design could have overcome these road safety issues many years ago?

Summary

I would summarise:-

Whilst most are of the opinion that the A120 needs to be re-invented, having used this road for many years I cannot see why over a ľ billion pounds needs to be spent on this section of road at all. Peak times do cause tailbacks especially at Marks Hall & Gallows Corner roundabout, however major tidal flow can be given priority over local traffic and a dedicated separate slip road would alleviate this problem. Reconstruction at Gallows Corner can be achieved to ease congestion.

If a scheme is to progress, the southern scheme put forward by the Highways Agency, in my opinion, has been ill thought out and would undoubtedly cost much more than is necessary. The Northern route would impact less on rural communities, but no less than to the environment. A middle route, which would impact less to residents already affected by the A120 and especially to the environment (with local bypasses) has not even been mentioned, which seems an anomaly and could not be answered by your officials at several constructive seminars held in the area.

The proposed interchange at Feering would only compound the bottleneck experienced at Gallows Corner roundabout and would therefore need to be continuous slip roads, North and South onto the A12. The interaction with the railway which runs parallel with the A12 needs to be considered very carefully due predominantly to its elevation. Between Feering and Marks Tey the line is above the natural datum line and positioned approx 700m from the A12, therefore the new dual carriageway would need to rise above, stay elevated to a new intersection above the A12. No consideration has been given to the impact of this

North of Marks Tey, where there is a 3 lane carriageway already, the rail line is below the A12 and within 50m of the road. A natural bridge and intersection could be built and I feel would be less of a challenge on an engineering point of view and moreover less of an eye sore to all residents along the A12 corridor.

Serious consideration needs to be given in routing A120 traffic from Harwich along a grossly congested section of the A12. With the increased traffic flow and the A12 reputation of numerous accidents along the Kelvedon, Rivenhall and Witham bypasses, severe delays will also gridlock the A120 traffic. At present only serious traffic accidents affect the A120 slip road at Marks Tey.

Although there is a token point made about the environment I feel there is very little effort been put in place to overcome the communities affected by the proposals, furthermore there does not appear to be evidence of how the proposed roads will affect wildlife, the associated river systems and more importantly the complete and utter destruction of valuable, unspoilt Essex countryside, regardless of whether it is agricultural land.

There appears to be a massive waste of public money on the re-construction of the A12 north of Kelvedon completed in Feb 2005. The entire stretch from Feering to Marks Tey has just been resurfaced, with no safety access improvements at all, which if the southern route is passed, would negate all the work carried out. Furthermore to compound the waste, a new 8 mile bicycle path was re-constructed again at massive expense for extremely low use, only to be devoured by a new 3rd lane. What compounds the problem even further is that the Kelvedon bypass south of the proposals was not touched under these works. A serious question needs to be raised as to why this section was at least not undertaken first.

If the A120 needs to be upgraded then I cannot see why the existing road is not redeveloped, this would minimise the impact

  • To the environment and the Essex countryside.
  • Rural communities along all the proposed routes
  • Maintain a sense of direction that the road is taking the shortest route possible
  • Save tax payers money
  • Reduce the massive disruption this would cause to the over congested A12
  • Bring back credibility to the resurfacing works just completed

I would be grateful for a response to the above and your assurance that these points will be given serious consideration.

I would be happy to discuss these issues with you?

Yours Faithfully

A D Land