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A120 to A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System

Latest News - 13 January 2021: Rapid Transit works to begin on Northern Approach


Ground Investigation works are due to commence along Northern Approach in order to help develop the ongoing design of the new Colchester Rapid Transit System lane.


The works are expected to take about 3 or 4 weeks and will include boreholes, trial trenches and observation pits, with the team taking various samples and installing equipment in order to monitor groundwater.


The ‘priority lane’ along North Approach was originally identified in 2006, as part of the wider Northern Approach Road and wider housing development approval already constructed, with the intention of increasing the public transport offer in the town in future years.


Following the confirmation of Government investment in proposals for a new rapid transit system within the town, the design is now underway. The scheme will see the creation of a ‘priority’ corridor linking the A12 Park and Ride with key destinations across the town, before reaching the university and another transport hub located off the new A120-A133 Link Road, supporting the proposed Tending Colchester Garden Community development.


Once complete, the corridor will provide priority over other traffic, enabling fast regular services around the town.


Design of the RTS will be completed in the coming months with construction due to start at the end of the year.


For question on the scheme, please visit email


In 2019 Essex County Council successfully bid for funding to help support planned housing growth across the county.

Essex’s bids to the Goverment's Housing Infrastructure Fund totalled more than £500 million and cover vital transport infrastructure improvements.

To enable Essex County Council to support sustainable planned growth, it is necessary to provide the improved transport infrastructure. This will help manage additional traffic and enhance the connectivity of future developments.

In August 2019 it was announced that the A120/A133 Link Road and the Colchester Rapid Transit System (RTS) scheme had been successful in securing funding, receiving £99milion. 

Following assessment of route options, a consultation was held in November 2019, leading to Essex County Council's Cabinet approving a preferred route in May 2020.

Need for the Scheme

Linking the A120 and A133 with a new road will unlock land to provide housing and business space, improving connectivity locally and within the wider region.

There will be approximately 25,000 new homes built within Tendring and Colchester by 2033, including the new Tendring Colchester Garden Community.

This development will see 7,500 - 9,000 new homes as well as business and leisure space created over the coming decades.

The Link Road forms part of the Garden Community, creating accessess into and from it, creating easy access ot the A120 and A12, while also providing a connection to the Rapid Transpit System which will operate from the Garden Community.

What is being proposed

The Link Road will create a new dual-carriageway between the A120 and A133.

Following consideration of consultation responses, engineering, environmental and design, it was agreed to adopt ‘Option 1C variant’ as the preferred route for the Link Road.

Option 1C was the favoured route option in the consultation and the amendments made will lessen the impact on existing properties, Strawberry Grove, Turnip Lodge Lane (a protected lane) and nearby communities, while still meeting the objectives of the scheme.

The planned route will leave the A133 via a roundabout east of the University of Essex, joining the A120 via a junction east of Strawberry Grove.

The next steps will see the route progress through preliminary design ahead of a planning application later in the year. The Link Road will likely be submitted for planning in November/December of this year with construction due to begin in 2022.


Scheme timeline

Bid announced – August 2019

Public Consultation – Autumn 2019

Planning Application – Spring 2020/21

Construction Start – Target 2022

Project completion – Target 2024 

Rapid Transit System proposals

The successful Housing Infrastructure Fund bid also saw funding provided for the first elements of a new Rapid Transit System for Colchester.

This will see the development of a route running from the existing Park and Ride on the A12, through the town centre, heading east to the new garden community and a propsed new 'park and Choose' site. 

Park and Choose is an evolution of Park and Ride, creating a transport hub for people looking to access other forms of transport, for example it could offer cycle storage and lockers, electric bikes, connections into the wider bus network as well as parking facilites.

What make an RTS unlike other public transport is that will see high frequency (every ten minutes or less) services on segregated or priority corridors, so meaning it takes priority over other traffic. 

For the purpose of delivery, the RTS proposals have been split into four sections. Section A uses an already approved route between the Park and Ride site on the A12 and the Albert Roundabout. 

Section D covers the section within the Garden Community itself and would be considered as part of the masterplanning proces.The consultation held last year, therefore, looked at Section B from the Albert Roundabout to the Greenstead Roundabout and Section C from the Greenstead Roundabout to the Garden Community.

Within the consultation several route options were set out. The comments and views given were assessed alongside the engineering feasibility and the ability to meet the overall objectives.

It has been agreed that Options B2 and B5 and Options C1 and C2 along with the route through the town centre will now be further developed ahead of a final route selection.

RTS Section A
RTS Section B Route Options
RTS Section C Options

Consultation document

Consultation on the route options for the Link Road and Rapid Transit System was undertaken in November 2019.