Work set to start on Boreham junction ahead of new Chelmsford bypass

Work is commencing next month to upgrade the Boreham Interchange ahead of planned construction for a new Chelmsford bypass.

These works starting on Tuesday, February 2 form part of a wider package of infrastructure projects associated with a new railway station at Beaulieu.

This transformational road and rail upgrade is being delivered with nearly £218 million in funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, plus £34 million of other funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Countryside Zest.

The bypass – to be known as the A131 – will connect the Boreham Interchange to Essex Regiment Way (A130) and replace Colchester Road and White Hart Lane as the strategic route to Braintree, Stansted Airport and the M11, ultimately relieving congestion in and around Springfield.

The new link road which is already constructed in part, will also provide the access to the proposed Beaulieu station which is scheduled to open in 2025/2026.

However, there are a number of issues that Essex County Council (ECC) and the wider project team are managing that require a resolution before the agreement with Homes England can be signed.

If ECC is unable to enter into a contract with Homes England, then GRIP4 and the wider Beaulieu Railway Station project will be unable to progress and will be cancelled, which will have an effect on other projects funded through the HIF bid.

The Beaulieu Park project through the HIF bid is linked with the Chelmsford North East Bypass, which is the subject of a separate decision.

Failure to secure HIF will likely mean cancellation of the bypass and writing off all historic expenditure.

An important step in the sustainable growth of the city, the first phase of the capacity improvements at the Boreham Interchange will be completed by Autumn 2021.

The majority of the work is being carried out 24 hours a day to reduce the length of disruption, with the existing lanes remaining open during the day.

Subsequently, a new road bridge connecting the link road to the Boreham Interchange will be constructed, requiring a short period of additional works at the Boreham Interchange to tie in the new bridge. The new link road is planned to open in autumn 2022.

Works at the Boreham Interchange are set to improve the capacity of the interchange by signalising each of the three roundabouts which make up the interchange, but also provide improved pedestrian and cycle facilities particularly for residents from Boreham walking and cycling towards Chelmsford, the commercial areas within Springfield and the planned new railway station at Beaulieu.

Proposals for the new Beaulieu station also include a bus interchange and substantial cycle parking, as well as a dedicated pedestrian and cycle route which will connect both the residential areas and the business park to the new rail station.

Martin Leach, managing director for Countryside Strategic Land, said: “Working together with our partners, we’re pleased to commence the Boreham Interchange improvement works which are key in delivering the much-needed new relief road.

“The new road will provide a more convenient link between the A12 and the A130 taking a substantial amount of traffic away from the local roads as well as providing access to Beaulieu station.”

Stage 1 –  February 1 to end of June 2021

Preparatory construction takes place to create the new Generals Lane Roundabout, the reconfigured Generals Farm Roundabout, the widening of Drovers Way, the construction of a new northbound slip road onto the A12 and modifications to the existing sbnd A12 on and off slip roads.  The works will include upgrades to drainage.

Stage 2 –  end of June 2021 to end of July 2021

Completion of Stage 1 works, where revised traffic management arrangements will be in place.  Work will take place in relation to the new parapet on the A12 part of the cycle upgrade to the Boreham Interchange and on the reconfiguration of the Drovers Way Roundabout

Stage 3 – end of July 2021 to mid September 2021

The new A12 northbound on slip will be operational, with a gyratory arrangement in operation at the Generals Lane Roundabout, whilst works are completed.

In this stage the civil works will be largely completed.

Stage 4 – mid September to end of October

In this stage, the Phase 1 works will be completed and it will include night time operation to complete the road surfacing and lane markings, with the new signals becoming operational.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter