We received the following email from the A120 Study project team today. Though one route has been discounted, options remain for the A120 to meet the A12 at either end of Kelvedon and Feering.
‘Today Essex County Council held a full Cabinet Meeting and discussed the A120 Braintree to A12 option selection and consultation. The meeting agenda, minutes and papers can be found on the Essex County Council website.
At this meeting the following recommendations were agreed:
- of the initial 68 route options assessed and the five options taken to consultation only two broad options, corresponding to the central (routes B and C) and southern corridors (routes D and E), will now be pursued in greater detail to determine the best overall performing route
- Option A (northern corridor) is the worst performing option and would appear unlikely to emerge as a candidate for preferred route status through further study
- Work continues to present a full set of route option appraisals to Government in accordance with Highways England processes
- A final decision on Essex County Council’s preferred route option be delegated to the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Skills, Infrastructure and the Digital Economy in consultation with the Executive Director for Infrastructure and Environment.
Essex County Council will continue with further technical studies before it makes a route recommendation. The A120 project is currently in Stage 2 of Highways England’s Product Control Framework (PCF) process, during which further assessment of the central and southern routes will be carried out. Once the appraisal of the options is finalised near the end of Stage 2, a recommendation will be made for the favoured route, which will be assessed by Highways England based on the evidence and confirmed at the end of Stage 2.
How was this decision reached?
A Decision Framework has been developed to assess the relative performance of the A120 route options against the five Department for Transport cases (Strategic Fit, Economic, Managerial, Financial and Commercial). The criteria assessed in the framework include: Economic growth; local environment; value for money; public acceptability; capital costs; and overall cost risk, among others.
Based on the outcomes of public consultation and the Decision Framework results, Option A is the least preferred option and does not perform as well as other options when assessed against the full range of criteria. It was therefore decided that this option should be discounted.
As there is currently no overwhelmingly strong single candidate option, all of the remaining route options (B to E inclusive) will undergo further modelling and technical studies, which are required to complete the next stage of Highways England’s processes.
Further to this, a junction to provide access to Bradwell Quarry and the Integrated Waste Management Facility will be added to all of the remaining options going forward. This was the most frequent response to the public consultation question on junction locations, and would reduce the need for heavy goods vehicles to travel through local villages, which was a key consideration from the public in the consultation responses.
It is important to remember that the feasibility study is being undertaken by Essex County Council on behalf of Highways England. Highways England is the body with the legal duty to plan and operate the country’s motorway and trunk road network. All work undertaken by Essex County Council is advisory at this stage, and a preferred Route Announcement (PRA) can only be made by Highways England in association with the Department for Transport.