Chelmsford roundabout plan approved

Chelmsford’s Army and Navy junction will be remodelled into a so-called hamburger roundabout after plans were rubber stamped today.

Essex County Council signed off the preferred proposal for a hamburger roundabout – a roundabout with a road through the centre of it – at cabinet today (March 15).

A public consultation, which ran from August to October, focused on two new options for the junction which connects Chelmer Village, Baddow and the city centre.

A hamburger roundabout and separate T-junctions were proposed.

And the consultation findings revealed that the public were overwhelmingly in support of the hamburger roundabout option.

Essex County Council cabinet on Tuesday agreed that the hamburger roundabout option is taken forward as the preferred option for the junction improvements and officers should develop an Outline Business Case for submission to the Department for Transport (DfT) for funding.

The business case is expected to be ready by the autumn.

The costs will be split by the Department of Transport which will fund around £57.5m, Essex County Council will contribute around £6m while Chelmsford City Council will contribute £4m.

Councillor Lesley Wagland, Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning said at cabinet today (March 15): “This flyover at this key junction gateway was removed in 2019 and that gives us a once in a generation opportunity to redesign the junction sustainably with better travel elements and improving journeys for all junction users including cyclists, on foot and the like.”

The plans sit alongside additional improvements for Chelmsford – including a 350-space expansion of Sandon Park and Ride, a new Park and Ride site in Widford where two site options are being considered and wider connectivity improvements across the walking and cycling networks.

The average peak period journey times through the junction could be 35 per cent quicker for cyclists.

It is also expected that the new layout will see a 30 per cent increase in total Park and Ride passenger numbers by 2041.

Councillor Mike Mackrory who is leader of Lib Dem group at Essex County Council and a Chelmsford city councillor, said: “From Chemsford in particular we are very pleased that walking and cycling elements have been highlighted in the report.

“It is crucial that we do get that connectivity on all sides of the hamburger to enable pedestrians and cyclists to make those linkages and also in particular to facilitate a longer term ambition for a cycle route up to Sandon park and ride.”

The Army and Navy junction is a critical part of the Chelmsford transport network and a vital gateway into and out of the city. It was being used by up to 70,000 vehicles a day and 72 buses an hour prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The junction currently consists of a five-arm roundabout, which until 2019 had a tidal flyover that carried one-way traffic to and from the A1060/A1114 over the roundabout.

In normal times the junction is already over capacity during the morning and evening peak times and as a result suffers from severe congestion.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter