Follow-up consultation launched after M25 plans tweaked

Highways England is consulting on changes it wants to make to plans for improvements to junction 28 of the M25.

An £80 million pound programme to improve traffic at the Brentwood junction involves a looping cloverleaf link road scheme to connect the M25 at junction 28 with the A12, as well as providing local access to Brentwood via the A1023 Brook Street.

The authority is now asking members of the public to comment on changes to the preferred scheme, which will allow northbound M25 traffic to bypass the roundabout as it connects to the eastbound A12.

Work is set to last two years after starting in June 2021.

Highways England has now identified ten key changes to the proposals including flood mitigation proposals, a high-pressure gas main diversion and redesign of the A12 eastbound exit road.

In addition rather than creating a new access from Wigley Bush Lane – the road that runs from South Weald to Brook Street, passing over the A12 -Highways England is considering using an existing access from Wigley Bush Lane to minimise disruption.

An overbridge at the A12 eastbound exit road will allow the proposed loop road to join the A12 eastbound carriageway.

Another bridge will span over the M25 anti-clockwise entry road in the northern part of the scheme.

The aim is to reduce future traffic delays at the busy junction.

Highways England says the junction is heavily congested and is running at capacity and if nothing is done by 2037 then congestion will be five times worse than it is today, constraining future development and growth opportunities.

The local air quality will also deteriorate further.

At peak times 7,500 vehicles use the junction an hour, which is due to grow.

It is already operating at full capacity, with traffic queues and lengthy delays, resulting in longer and increasingly unreliable journey times for motorists.

The scheme will also reconfigure the lane markings and destination signing on the roundabout.

The A1023 (Brook Street) arm of the roundabout is the only approach not controlled by traffic lights.

After leaving the roundabout to travel along Brook Street, motorists pass through the traffic lights at the Nags Head Lane and Mascalls Lane junctions.

Traffic regularly develops along Brook Street and often back on to the roundabout, with queues blocking the entry and exit roads to the M25 and A12.

Highways England initially unveiled three proposals to link the anti-clockwise M25 directly with the Chelmsford-bound A12 in 2016.

All three plans removed the need for drivers to navigate the roundabout in a bid to free up congestion.

A public consultation held from Wednesday, 16 November, 2016 to Friday, 6 January, 2017, received a total of 228 responses.

Over 90 per cent of people taking part in the consultation agreed that improvements were needed at the junction, with nearly half of respondents backing Option 5F – more than twice as many as the other two options put together.

The supplementary review will form part of its development consent order submission, expected to be submitted by spring 2020.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter