A NOTORIOUS stretch of the A12 which cuts through the middle of a village will be moved south under new proposals.

Highways England has confirmed its preferred route for the A12 between Witham and Rivenhall which forms part of a wider project to widen the 15-mile stretch between Boreham at junction 19 and junction 25 at Marks Tey.

The proposals put forward for the road at Witham will see space made on each side of the carriageway for a third lane, while junction 22 will be moved southwards.

This in turn will help to reroute the A12 and means it would bypass Rivenhall End.

Witham County Councillor James Abbott says the preferred option appears to be one which residents will get behind.

He said: "There are strong views about this part of the A12 in both Witham and Rivenhall and it can't continue in its present form.

"It effectively cuts Rivenhall End in half so it has a lot of support in the village.

"The junctions at the moment are notorious and there was a report done by Highways which even said they are sub standard which says it all really.

"There will be a lot of people in favour of this but they will want to see the detail first."

Highways England says it will continue to work on a finer design for the reroute at junction 22 to allow time for the garden communities scheme, which will see three new towns built in north Essex, to be decided.

Until a ruling is made on the project, plans to reroute and widen the A12 between Kelvedon and Marks Tey cannot be decided.

A public consultation launched earlier this week on four possible options for the new route between junction 23 and 24.

A Highways England spokesman said: "We are announcing our preferred route to upgrade the road between junctions 19 and 23 so that its work on the A12 can start while plans for the new development are under discussion.

"Highways England remains committed to upgrading the whole stretch of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey."

It is hoped a planning application for the entire widening project will be submitted to the Government in 2021 and improvement work will begin no later than 2025.

A projected end date for the scheme is 2027/2028.

Those involved with the proposals say it will help to reduce journey times and improve safety.

Figures released by Highways England show crashes which occur on the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey are 20 per

cent more likely to be fatal.

Project leader Stephen Elderkin said: “With the high levels of congestion, it’s a route that Highways England and the Government are committed to improving.

“Our proposed improvements will increase safety and average speeds, so that someone travelling on the A12 daily can expect to

save over an hour of travel time each week.”