Plans to build first section of Chelmsford North East Bypass project moves step closer

The delivery of one part of the Chelmsford North East Bypass is set to be open for bids – however, there is still no indication of when the remaining section will be built.

Essex County Council is soon to open the bidding process for one section of the Chelmsford North East Bypass – between the A131 Radial Distributor Road close to New Hall School and a new roundabout which will connect it to a new road just south of Cranham Road. The project is due to cost £95 million.

The remainder of the bypass – which should eventually reach Deres Bridge has been delayed to help mitigate a funding gap of more than £8 million that otherwise may have placed the whole project in jeopardy.

The full North East Bypass scheme will comprise a new 4.6km single carriageway comprised of sections 1A and 1B and the dualling of a 1.2km stretch of the A131 forming section 2.

The single-carriageway section is split into a southern section (Section 1A) set to be finished by March 2026 and a northern section (Section 1B).

These two sections will meet at an intermediate roundabout which will connect the bypass with the proposed new Northern Radial Distributor Road.

This will be a new east-west road which will be delivered by the developer consortium as part of the Chelmsford Garden Community and will link Essex Regiment Way in the west (at Wheelers Hill Roundabout) with the North East Bypass.

However, following concerns around cost increases it was agreed with Homes England in July last year, that while section section 1A can now proceed, construction of the remainder of the North East Bypass will take place in the future “when alternative funding has been secured”.

A statement as part of a decision notice set to be agreed at cabinet next week said: “Section 1A is proposed to be the first part of the bypass and is scheduled to be completed by March 2026. The new Beaulieu Park Station (BPS) is scheduled to open in 2025. Together these schemes will directly unlock circa 6,000 homes in the new garden community.

“The remainder of CNEB is expected to be completed as funding subsequently becomes available, including through future developer contributions, and will unlock additional homes bringing the total to over 10,000 homes. Where practicable, the design and construction of Section 1A will accommodate the future provision of the next phase of the bypass works.”

Since agreeing to progress Section 1A of the North East Bypass in July this year, work has been underway to finalise the design and undertake revised traffic modelling to take account of the phased approach, progress land assembly and develop contract documentation in preparation for procuring a design and build contractor for the main works package.

To progress the delivery of the first phase of the North East Bypass, it is now necessary to procure a contractor to construct Section 1A through a Design and Build Contract. Whilst approximately 80 per cent of the design has been completed, it will be for the successful contractor to complete the detailed design.

A statement added: “In this way, there is an opportunity for the contractor to identify and possibly drive out further Chelmsford North East Bypass Section 1A – Procurement of a Design and Build Contract 4 value engineering opportunities as well as making sure they are happy with the design.

“Sufficient time has been allowed within the delivery programme for the Contractor to finalise the detailed design before the main construction works commence on site.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter