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Overnight surveys - Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package


12/02/2024
Advance Notice

A series of overnight surveys are taking place on Van Diemans Road, Princes Road, Baddow Road and Meadgate Avenue. The surveys, which started on Tuesday 20 February, will run until Thursday 29 February and be carried out in various locations during that time.

Essex and Suffolk Water are conducting the surveys, which are required to help inform future diversion works as part of the proposed Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package.

Read more

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package

About the junction

The Army and Navy junction in Chelmsford is a key gateway into and out of the city and was being used by up to 70,000 vehicles a day and 72 buses an hour prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The junction consists of a five-arm roundabout, which until 2019 had a tidal flyover that carried one-way traffic (cars only) to and from the A1060 Parkway/A1114 Essex Yeomanry Way over the roundabout.

The junction is already over capacity during the morning and evening peak times. As a result, it suffers from severe congestion and bus passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers regularly experience delays. This also results in it being a poor-quality environment for all road users.

The situation is expected to get worse in the future unless we do something differently.

To begin to solve the problems, we cannot keep building new roads and need to instead provide better options for people to travel, encouraging safer, greener and healthier ways of getting around the city, especially for shorter journeys where we want walking or cycling to be the natural choice.

The Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package is an opportunity to do just that and we are working very hard to develop a long-term and sustainable solution that is an asset to the city and improves journeys for everyone.

Key facts about the junction

  • Each day, up to 70,000 vehicles use the junction (pre-COVID but post-flyover removal). About 10,000 vehicles a day used the flyover prior to its closure
  • A significant number of journeys to work in Chelmsford are made by private vehicle but are less than 5km in length
  • If everyone in Chelmsford were to switch just two of their journeys to work (including to the train station) each week to sustainable modes, this would remove 165,000 trips from the network

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package

The Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package is an unmissable opportunity to re-design the Army and Navy junction - a crucial gateway to Chelmsford – while also providing better options for people to travel and encouraging safer, greener, and healthier ways of getting around the city.

By delivering a comprehensive package of measures that encourage increased walking, cycling and Park and Ride travel, alongside an improved Army and Navy junction, we can provide a long-term and sustainable solution, improving journeys for everyone.

The proposed Army and Navy Sustainable Package includes:

  • A new Hamburger Roundabout (a roundabout with a road through the centre of it) junction layout
  • Walking and cycling improvements at the Army and Navy and on the approaches to and from the junction
  • A 350-space expansion of Sandon Park and Ride
  • A 500-space expansion of Chelmer Valley Park and Ride
  • Extension of the Essex Yeomanry Way bus lane
  • A new northbound bus lane on Princes Road
  • Improved bus priority in both directions on Parkway

In October 2022, Essex County Council submitted an Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport (DfT) for the proposed package – the next stage of the bidding process for Major Road Network (MRN) funding. The £81million project is also progressing with part funding by the county council and Chelmsford City Council. A year later, in October 2023, the Department for Transport approved the Outline Business Case and agreed to contribute £68.75million of MRN funding, subject to certain conditions being met.

Planning applications

In January 2024, three separate planning applications – one for the Army and Navy junction and one each for the Park and Ride expansions – were submitted for the project. As part of the planning process, people had a 21-day period to comment on the applications. This period closed on Thursday 8 February 2024 with decisions on the applications anticipated in the Spring based on statutory timeframes.

Army and Navy Junction – CC/CHL/108/23

Sandon Park and Ride – CC/CHL/109/23

Chelmer Valley Park and Ride – CC/CHL/110/23

Hamburger Roundabout, Army and Navy Junction

Following our public consultation about the proposed Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package, the Army and Navy Task Force recommended the Hamburger Roundabout as the preferred junction option in December 2021. In March 2022, Essex County Council’s Cabinet formally approved the Hamburger Roundabout as a preferred option. The decision came after consultation results showed the majority of respondents favoured the hamburger roundabout option. Latest analysis also showed it performed better from a business case and performance perspective, with good average journey time improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motorised vehicles.

Resembling the look of a hamburger, this type of roundabout has a main road running through it. Traffic will be able to travel straight through the centre of the junction between Essex Yeomanry Way and Parkway. Other movements will be made using the roundabout, with traffic signals used to manage flows and priority. The roundabout will predominantly have three lanes around the circulatory, while there will be two lanes in each direction on the road through the middle of central island between Parkway and Essex Yeomanry Way. A signalised left-turn slip road will be created between Chelmer Road and Essex Yeomanry Way.

The proposed design includes significantly improved walking and cycling facilities at ground-level at the junction, replacing the current subway and creating attractive, safe and accessible routes. Fully segregated cycle lanes and direct crossings are proposed, in line with Department for Transport’s latest guidance. Optimised signal timings will help ensure pedestrians and cyclists can travel across the junction safely and quickly in as few phases as possible. New bus lanes and bus priority measures will be added in both directions on Parkway and the bus lane will be extended on Essex Yeomanry Way.

Following additional refinements to planned signal timings, alongside post-consultation design changes, we have been able to enhance estimated journey time improvements for the majority of modes of transport travelling through the junction.

The latest modelled journey time improvements for the Hamburger Roundabout, as calculated for the Outline Business Case, are:

  • Average journey times for cyclists will be 44% quicker
  • Bus journey times will be about 40% faster on average
  • Journeys will be 53% quicker on average for motorised vehicles
  • Walking through the junction at ground level will be about 11% quicker on average
Hover over image to pause slideshow
 

Wider walking and cycling improvements

Wider walking and cycling network connectivity improvements are also proposed on the approaches to and from the Army and Navy junction.

These include:

  • New pedestrian and cycling facilities on Baddow Road, including new crossings on Baddow Road and Meadgate Avenue
  • New cycle route through Meadgate linking to a new two-way segregated cycleway alongside Essex Yeomanry Way, providing an improved route from Great Baddow
  • Fully segregated two-way cycle route on the western side of Van Diemans Road and a new parallel crossing  at the Lady Lane junction
  • A new off-Parkway segregated footway/cycleway from into the city centre alongside the River Chelmer and via Kings Head Walk
  • Connection to existing Chelmer Road to Chelmer Village cycle route

Sandon Park and Ride expansion

We are proposing an upgrade and approximate 350-space expansion of the existing Sandon Park and Ride site to meet increased future demand. Expansion would be made to the west of the existing site.

Key features:

  • Approximately 1,800 total parking spaces, including designated electric vehicle and parent and child spaces
  • A new larger bus lay-by area to the west of the site access junction on the A1060 Maldon Road
  • Construction of a new terminal building with improved facilties
  • Various pedestrian and cyclist improvements throughout the site, including crossings and a segregated cycle/footpath with connections to the future employment site to the west of the expanded Park and Ride site
  • High quality and secure cycle lockers for overnight bike storage to enable Park and Choose (option to take the bus, walk or cycle to complete your journey)
The proposed expansion of the existing Sandon Park and Ride site will create approximately 350 extra spaces to help meet increased future demand.
The expanded site will include a new and improved terminal building and bus lay-by area, as well as various improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. The key features of the proposals are highlighted in this visualisation.

Chelmer Valley Park and Ride expansion

We are proposing a 500-space expansion of the existing Chelmer Valley Park and Ride site to meet a forecast increase in future demand. 

When we originally consulted on the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package, it included a proposed new Park and Ride to the west of Chelmsford in Widford. However, in March 2022, we announced we would not be taking those plans forward as part of the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package because of the significant construction costs and greater financial risks with operating a new Park and Ride site. 

With significant growth planned to the north of Chelmsford and in the Braintree district, it was always anticipated that Chelmer Valley Park and Ride would require expansion in the future, so the removal of a new Widford Park and Ride from the package provided an opportunity to fund the Chelmer Valley expansion.

Expansion would be made to the east and slightly to the north of the existing site.

Key features:

  • Approximately 1,500 total parking spaces, including designated electric vehicle and parent and child spaces
  • Clockwise one-way system in car park maintained and expanded
  • Various pedestrian and cyclist improvements throughout the site, including crossings and direct cycleway/footway connections between the terminal building, expanded area of the site and proposed new Chelmsford Garden Community development
The proposed expansion of the existing Chelmer Valley Park and Ride site will create approximately 500 extra spaces to help meet a forecast increase in future demand.
The expanded site will include various improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, including connections between the terminal building, expanded area of the site and the proposed new Chelmsford Garden Community development. The key features of the proposals are highlighted in this visualisation.

Benefits of the scheme

The following benefits were calculated at Outline Business Case stage and are subject to change.

Supporting growth

  • Unlocks economic and job creation opportunities by improving journey times at the junction for all users
  • Direct increase in UK GDP valued at £32m
  • Expanded Park and Ride services in the highest areas of growth
  • Improved connectivity between the key regional centre and employment in Chelmsford with the wider area, in particular South Essex and Maldon, and the Strategic Road Network via the A12

Safer, Greener, Healthier travel

  • More than 13,000 square metres of new and upgraded crossings and segregated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians at the junction
  • Improved average journey times for pedestrians (11% faster) and cyclists (44% faster)
  • An expected 50% increase in walking and 60% increase in cycling
  • 844 metres of new dedicated bus lanes, resulting in a 40% reduction in bus journey times
  • 34% increase in Park and Ride patronage by 2041
  • More people walking and cycling would result in health benefits, such as reduced illness and increased life expectancy, valued at £13.4m

Improved journeys for motorised vehicles

  • Reduced congestion, improved journey times and improved journey time reliability at the junction
  • 53% improvement in average journey times through the junction for private vehicles
  • User benefits of £90.9m and journey time reliability savings of £9.4m

Next steps

Based on the current programme, which assumes the necessary land can be obtained through negotiations with the owners, we are aiming to submit a final business case to the Department for Transport in autumn 2024, with construction of the package scheduled to start in spring 2025 and be completed in early 2028. The sequencing of the construction of the different elements of the package is yet to be agreed.

We understand people want a solution as quickly as possible and are taking steps to speed things up wherever we can. However, we must also follow Government, legal and planning processes and ensure we achieve the right solution for Chelmsford.

Task Force

A dedicated Army and Navy Taskforce, made up of local representatives and elected members of the Parish, City and County Councils, has been established to drive forward a longer-term solution for the Army and Navy junction and to lobby Government for funding.

The Taskforce is an advisory body, which, in partnership with Essex Highways, is assisting the decision-making process in considering the future of the Army and Navy junction and the immediate transport network.

Members meet on a regular basis to provide feedback and insight to help shape the options being developed and progressed.

The Taskforce has raised the Army and Navy scheme with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Department for Transport. The department’s priorities for the scheme are:

  1. Safeguarding the productivity of Chelmsford
  2. Managing congestion at peak times
  3. Incorporating the scheme into the wider transport vision for Chelmsford

Alongside these priorities, the Department for Transport has stressed the importance of sustainable transport infrastructure.

Minutes of the Army and Navy Task Force meetings are available in the documents section at the bottom of this page. 

Engagement with partners

Community partners have played a vital role in helping shape the future of the Army and Navy junction and will continue to do so as the project develops.

In March 2019, representatives from various groups were invited to attend workshops about the Army and Navy junction. Three events were held - one for businesses, one for transport groups and one for local community groups.

The purpose of these events was to provide an early opportunity for a variety of key audiences to find out more about the background and objectives for the scheme, to discuss the principles and priorities that must be considered and share their knowledge and experiences of the junction.

The feedback captured from these sessions was used to help inform the development of initial options for a long-term solution.

Further workshops with key partners were scheduled for March 2020 but were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. A written update was sent to partners instead and can be found in the documents section at the bottom of the page.

Further briefing sessions took place virtually in January 2021 and July 2021 and allowed the project team to update partners on the latest progress with the project, the options being taken forward and our plans for public consultation.

Separate briefing sessions also took place in July 2021 to outline our Park and Ride proposals and again in March 2022 after a preferred option had been agreed. The latter also provided an opportunity to update partners on the revised package of measures proposed as part of the project. The presentation slides for the briefings held in March 2022 can be found in the documents section of this webpage.

Removal of the flyover

The Army and Navy flyover was a feature of the Chelmsford skyline for more than 40 years and its removal was a crucial step in a new era for transport in the city.

The flyover was the subject of a number of closures during summer 2018 after movement of a supporting column following record high temperatures. Having been safely reopened, it was closed again in July 2019 after similar defects were identified.

On 16 September 2019, it was confirmed that the flyover would be closed permanently on safety grounds following the recommendation of a detailed engineering report, which revealed new defects within the concrete foundations.

The flyover was successfully removed in 2020. The project started in February 2020 and the steel and concrete structure was taken down section by section before being transported away for dismantling and recycling.

Works to remove the flyover itself were completed in mid-March 2020, with follow-on activity to close off the crossover areas and make the site safe finished in April 2020.

A video of the historic project has since been added to the Essex Record Office digital archive.

Vision and strategy 

The vision for Chelmsford is to have a transport system which is best in class, offering enhanced connectivity, access and choice to residents, commuters, visitors and businesses.

The Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy sets the approach to the city’s transport network to provide real choice.

Through a zonal approach, it prioritises specific modes of transport in different areas of Chelmsford, with an increasing focus on sustainable travel towards the city centre.

The Army and Navy junction is on the border of the central and mid zones, meaning any scheme should prioritise sustainable travel measures such as walking, cycling and buses.

Public consultation

We have carried out two separate public consultation activities to give people the opportunity to provide feedback on our plans and help us refine our proposals.

Army and Navy junction and Sandon Park and Ride

Having thoroughly assessed a number of potential junction layouts and sustainable transport improvements, we asked you to help shape the final scheme by taking part in our public consultation in 2021.

The eight-week public consultation wasopen from Monday, 9 August 2021 until Sunday, 3 October 2021.

The proposals we consulted onincluded:

  • Two junction options – a Hamburger Roundabout (a roundabout with a road through the centre of it) and Separate T-junctions
  • A 350-space expansion of Sandon Park and Ride
  • A new Park and Ride site in Widford (two site options were considered)
  • Wider connectivity improvements across the walking and cycling networks

As part of the consultation, we produced a consultation brochure and easy read brochure setting out our proposals. These can be found below.

Full Version 

Public consultation brochure - PDF(4.3mb)

Audio read through narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper - MP3(50mb)

Easy Read

Easy read public consultation brochure - PDF(2.8mb)

Audio easy read read through from Chelmsford Talking Newspaper - MP3(14.5mb)

We also published a series of visualisations showing how the junction options would work from the perspectives of different users. Using estimated future traffic levels at morning and evening peak times and our pre-consultation design, the videos allowed you to experience realistic journeys through the junction as a pedestrian, cyclist and bus passenger.

An overview video also described how the options would work, highlighting key features and summarising the journey time improvements for different transport users.

The visualisation videos for the Hamburger Roundabout option are available below. However, please note that these were based on the designs prior to the public consultation in August 2021. The statisticswere updated in March 2022 to reflect the revised predicted journey time improvementsfollowing post-consultation design changes and refinement to traffic signal timings. Latestdesign changes are not shown in the visualisations and there have been further slight changes to the journey times estimates following our latest traffic modelling.

Thank you to everyone who attended our consultation events and participated in the public consultation. We analysed your responses to the consultation and published a consultation report in March 2022. The consultation report and a promoter's response, which sets out Essex County Council's response to the key themes raised during the consultation, can be found in the documents section of this page.

Revised layout proposed for Van Diemans Road

Following feedback during the public consultation, a revised layout is now proposed for Van Diemans Road.

Under the option included in the consultation, a two-way segregated cycleway was proposed on the eastern side of Van Diemans Road and the existing lanes for general traffic were to be maintained (notably, with two lanes northbound/on the approach to the Army and Navy junction). To provide space to accommodate this, it was proposed that existing permit parking bays in Van Diemans Road would be removed.

However, following concerns raised during the consultation and a site visit with residents and the local Essex County Council member in September 2021, a revised layout of Van Diemans Road is now proposed. Additionally, in response to the site visit with residents and the proposed revised layout of Van Diemans Road, we are proposing improvements to the Lady Lane junction as part of the scheme.

Under the latest proposals for Van Diemans Road, there will be one northbound lane for general traffic (flaring to two at the Army and Navy junction) and a two-way cycleway on the western side of Van Diemans Road, with the existing permit parking bays on Van Diemans re-aligned but retained.

The revised proposals will enable walking and cycling improvements to be made, while there will still be peak period journey time reductions on Van Diemans Road and an overall reduction in queuing, even with the removal of one of the northbound lanes, because of the significant capacity improvement at the junction with the hamburger roundabout. Traffic modelling has shown that in the opening year of the scheme traffic approaching the Army and Navy junction will experience journey time savings of 37% in the morning peak and 23% in the evening peak.

Although the revised Van Diemans Road layout and potential Lady Lane junction options are not part of any further formal consultation, the project team have continued to engage residents and partners as the options/proposals have been assessed and refined. Virtual meetings were held with residents in January and November 2022. The presentations and lists of the questions raised during the meetings can be found in the documents section of this page.

Having assessed four main options, an improved give way arrangement was agreed as the preferred option for the Lady Lane junction in September 2022. Final amendments to the designs for Van Diemans Road and the Lady Lane junction were made in 2023.

Chelmer Valley Park and Ride

We consulted separately on the proposed expansion of Chelmer Valley Park and Ride between 30 January 2023 and 12 March 2023. This was carried out separately because this element of the scheme was added to the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package after the original consultation had taken place.

This consultation provided the public with an opportunity to comment specifically on the proposals for Chelmer Valley Park and Ride before a planning application is submitted. As part of the consultation, we produced a consultation brochure and this can be found below.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. The consultation report can be found in the documents section of this page.

Questions and Answers

Select a question to reveal/hide the answer:

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package

The Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy sets the approach to the city’s transport network to provide real choice. Through a zonal approach, it prioritises specific modes of transport in different areas of Chelmsford, with an increasing focus on sustainable travel towards the city centre. The Army and Navy junction is on the border of the central and mid zones, meaning any scheme should focus on sustainable travel measures such as walking, cycling and buses.

In addition to our local vision and strategy, the Government has also made it very clear that future transport schemes must include sustainable measures in order to achieve a successful business case and secure funding. This point has been reiterated by the Department for Transport specifically in relation to the Army and Navy project.

We recognise not everyone is physically able to walk or cycle and also that it is not possible for longer distance trips. This project is about making improvements for all modes of transport and increasing people’s travel options.

By encouraging those who can walk or cycle to do so, we can not only improve people’s health and wellbeing, but also free up capacity on the roads for those people whose journeys to have to be made by car.

We have assessed our proposals for the Army and Navy junction based on a number of different scenarios. This includes using factors set by the Department for Transport DfT) based on the likely impacts of the pandemic and increased homeworking on traffic and the economy. Further tests will be carried out ahead of the submission of a Full Business Case.

Based on the current programme, which assumes the necessary land needed for the project can be obtained through negotiations with the owners, construction of the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package is expected to start in Spring 2025 and be completed in early 2028. The sequencing of the different elements (Army and Navy junction, Sandon Park and Ride and Chelmer Valley Park and Ride) is still being finalised, but it is hoped that Sandon Park and Ride site can be expanded in advance of the works at the junction to provide additional Park and Ride capacity during the junction works and help mitigate the impact of construction.

The duration of the construction programme for the junction improvements is expected to be about 24 months, however, this is subject to confirmation of timescales for utility diversions. To help minimise disruption and create the additional Park and Ride capacity needed to meet the predicted increase in demand during construction, it is hoped that Sandon Park and Ride site can be expanded in advance of the works at the junction. We will also ensure that construction works are carefully coordinated and sequenced to avoid clashing with any other major works in the area wherever possible.

We understand people want a solution at the Army and Navy junction as quickly as possible and we do as well, however we must also follow Department for Transport, legal and planning processes and ultimately ensure we achieve the right scheme for Chelmsford. Very detailed evidence is needed in order to make the case and secure Government funding for any major transport scheme. Steps have already been taken to reduce the project programme wherever possible and every effort is being made to identify further opportunities. We are also exploring whether any elements of the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package, such as expansion of Sandon Park and Ride, can be started in advance of the junction layout improvement works.

This project is being funded by the Government's Major Road Network and Large Local Majors programme and the award of funding to construct the scheme will be dependent on achieving a successful final business case.

In October 2022, Essex County Council submitted an Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport (DfT) for the proposed package – the latest stage of the bidding process for Major Road Network (MRN) funding – and in October 2023 we received confrimation from the DfT that the Outline Business Case had been approved and funding had been conditionally awarded. The £81million project will also be part funded by the county council and Chelmsford City Council.

The Army and Navy junction is a complex five-arm roundabout. A solution is not easy and, despite several investigations over the years, there is no quick fix and funding has not been available to pursue long-term improvements at the junction. Following the adoption of the Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy and permanent closure of the flyover, we were in a much stronger position to develop a long-term and sustainable solution and to pursue Government funding.

This webpage is updated regularly with the latest news on the project. You can also subscribe to our Army and Navy email newsletter.

Funding to construct the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package has yet to be secured but is being pursued from the Government's Major Road Network (MRN) programme. In October 2022, Essex County Council submitted an Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport (DfT) for the proposed package – the next stage of the bidding process – and we are currently awaiting a decision from the DfT.

MRN funding is only available for enhancement schemes on the country’s busiest and most economically important local authority ‘A’ roads and there is very specific eligibility criteria. Road maintenance schemes, such as pothole repairs, would not be eligible for the funding.

Earlier this month, Essex County Council announced the budget for 2023/24 for highway and footway repair and maintenance would receive increased investment of £9 million.

Potholes and other highway maintenance issues can be reported online.

Junction proposals

During the various stages of the option assessment process, we ruled out lower performing junction options to focus our efforts on those that would make a real difference. It would not have been appropriate to include any of the other options in the consultation because they did not perform well enough to be considered as a preferred option and taken forward.

A hamburger roundabout (a new roundabout with a road through the centre of it) was residents’ preferred option during public consultation. More than 840 people completed the consultation survey, with 60 per cent identifying the hamburger roundabout as their preferred option, compared with 21 per cent for the separate T-junctions, 18 per cent were undecided or had no preference and 1 per cent did not answer the question.

Latest assessment shows it also performs best from a business case and performance perspective, with good average journey time improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motorised vehicles, and a positive impact on the economy.

Together with the other measures proposed as part of the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package, it offers the best opportunity to provide a long-term and sustainable solution which would improve journeys for everyone.

The Essex County Council Cabinet report from March 2022 sets out further information about the decision to take forward the hamburger roundabout as the preferred junction option.

Our option assessment is based on the current situation at the junction and, therefore, after the former flyover was closed (and subsequently removed). This is standard practice as there is a need to ensure the current situation is reflected in line with the Department for Transport’s transport appraisal process, which must be followed in order to stand the best chance of a successful business case and securing funding.

No, based on the latest designs, we do not need to acquire any residential properties.

The existing left-turn slip road was constructed as a planning condition ahead of the opening of the Aldi store. It was not possible to retain the slip road within the Hamburger Roundabout design while also providing segregated pedestrian and cyclist crossings that comply with the latest Department for Transport guidance.

New bus lanes and bus priority measures are proposed in both directions on Parkway and existing measures would be maintained on Essex Yeomanry Way and into the junction, giving buses priority over general traffic. The eastbound bus lane ends with a bus gate just prior to the Aldi/B&M turning. Two lanes are maintained for general traffic on Parkway. A new northound bus lane is also proposed on Princes Road between the Waterson Vale roundabout and the Lady Lane junction.

We have not yet determined which additional vehicles would be able to use the proposed bus lanes.

There are no perfect solutions and no scheme would remove all queuing and delays at the junction, but we now have a scheme which offers the best balance for all transport users, including improved average journey times for private vehicles.

Rather than give a false impression of what the proposed hamburger roundabout layout could achieve, we wanted the visualisations to give people a realistic idea of the journeys they would experience at the junction.

We tried our best to create high quality visualisations that provide a realistic impression of the junction proposals in the visualisation videos we produced for the public consultation in 2021. In order to achieve this, we used traffic modelling data and software to replicate predicted vehicle numbers, flows and movements, and then combined this with animation software to bring the options to life. The traffic modelling software deliberately attempts to replicate poor driver behaviour, such as late or incorrect lane changes. Unfortunately, due to software constraints and compatibility, this was not something we could always rectify.

As outlined above, we used a combination of traffic modelling and animation software to create the visualisation videos in order to provide a realistic impression of the junction proposals for the public consultation in 2021. Although lorries and other heavy goods vehicles are included within our traffic modelling, due to some limitations and compatibility issues with the software, it was not possible to include these vehicles within the visualisation videos.

The decision was taken to rule out the Enlarged Roundabout ahead of public consultation because it would not meet the project objectives as well as the other two options. When accompanied by enhanced walking and cycling facilities at the junction, it would not sufficiently improve the junction for motorised vehicles and would be unlikely to secure funding. On the basis it would not be taken forward as a preferred option, it would have been misleading and inappropriate to include the option in the consultation.

Design standards have changed significantly since the previous Army and Navy flyover was first built in 1978. A modern standard two-way flyover would therefore be much bigger than the previous flyover and would take up considerably more space. It would be the worst option for increasing city centre traffic and congestion and would not supporting the Park and Ride or walking and cycling aspirations of our adopted Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy as well when compared with the other options. The flyover would also have the largest noise impact and the longest and most disruptive construction programme, which would have the biggest impact on the local economy.

A new one-way flyover was considered earlier in the project but was discounted because it would take up almost as much road space as a two-way flyover and have a similar cost but would provide fewer benefits. Notably, traffic travelling out of the city during the morning peak would need to merge lanes which would cause delays and a potential safety issue. This would also cause additional delays on other approaches to the junction such as Chelmer Road.

Ultimately we want the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package to improve journeys for all transport users, including pedestrians, cyclists, bus passengers and drivers. While that does include reducing congestion and delays for vehicles, the project is a very difficult balancing act and we must be mindful about the impacts of the options on walking, cycling and Park and Ride usage, as well as the potential for causing increased congestion and delays elsewhere in the city centre, notably at the Odeon roundabout, by letting too much traffic through the junction. The Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy sets out a clear vision to transform transport in Chelmsford through a zonal approach, with a strong focus on walking, cycling and bus travel, particularly towards the city centre, and it is crucial that the Army and Navy project aligns with that vision and strategy.

An underpass or tunnel for vehicles was discounted very early in the project. Given the location of the flood plain and the underground utilities at the junction, the option would be very complex and expensive to construct and would offer no additional benefits than the two-way flyover. Like the flyover, it would also encourage more vehicle trips into the city centre, rather than supporting the Park and Ride, walking and cycling, which goes against our adopted Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy.

Following feedback during the public consultation, a revised layout is now proposed for Van Diemans Road.

Under the option included in the consultation in 2021, a two-way segregated cycleway was proposed on the eastern side of Van Diemans Road and the existing lanes for general traffic were to be maintained (notably, with two lanes northbound/on the approach to the Army and Navy junction). To provide space to accommodate this, it was proposed that existing permit parking bays in Van Diemans Road would be removed.

However, following concerns raised during the consultation and a site visit with residents and the local Essex County Council member in September 2021, a revised layout of Van Diemans Road was proposed. Additionally, in response to the site visit with residents and the proposed revised layout of Van Diemans Road, potential options to improve the Lady Lane junction were developed and considered.

Under the latest proposals for Van Diemans Road, there would be one northbound lane for general traffic (flaring to two at the Army and Navy junction) and a two-way cycleway on the western side of Van Diemans Road, with the existing permit parking bays on Van Diemans re-aligned but retained.

The revised proposals would enable walking and cycling improvements to be made, while there would still be peak period journey time savings on Van Diemans Road and an overall reduction in queuing, even with the removal of one of the northbound lanes, because of the significant capacity improvements at the junction with the hamburger roundabout. This is because the flow of traffic from Essex Yeomanry Way to Parkway will no longer pass in front of the Van Diemans Road entry to the junction because these vehicles will use the ‘hamburger’ in the centre of the junction. This will significantly reduce the number of vehicles that Van Diemans Road traffic will have to give way to. The full-time signalisation of the Chelmer Road and Essex Yeomanry Way arms of the junction will also result in more gaps between vehicles on the circulatory carriageway. This will again make it easier for vehicles for enter the junction from Van Diemans Road.

Traffic modelling has shown that, in the opening year of the scheme, traffic approaching the Army and Navy junction will experience journey time savings of 37% in the morning peak and 23% in the evening peak. The queue in the morning peak is forecast to extend no further than it would without the scheme in place, while the queue in the evening peak is expected to be about 50% shorter than it would be without the scheme.

The visualisation videos were created ahead of the public consultation in August 2021. As such, they were based on the designs for the hamburger roundabout as proposed at that point in time. Following the feedback received during the public consultation, various design changes have been since made. Notably, these include a signalised crossing on Baddow Road and the revised proposals for Van Diemans Road. While the visualisation videos do not reflect these changes, we have published updated visualsation images which reflect the latest designs which have been submitted as part of the planning applications for the project.

Park and Ride

As part of the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package, we need to provide better options for people to travel and to encourage safer, greener and healthier ways of getting around the city.

We are proposing an upgrade and approximate 350-space expansion of the Sandon Park and Ride site to meet increased forecast demand in the future.

We are also now proposing an approximate 500-space expansion of the Chelmer Valley Park and Ride to meet increased forecast demand in the future due to the large amount of planned growth north of Chelmsford.

Although passenger numbers have significantly decreased as a result of the pandemic, use of our Park and Ride sites is increasing again and we fully expect passenger numbers to recover in time.

We have already assessed our proposals based on a number of different scenarios. This includes using factors set by the Department for Transport DfT) based on the likely impacts of the pandemic and increased homeworking on traffic and the economy. Further tests will be carried out ahead of the submission of a Full Business Case.

In line with the Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy, bus travel will play a key role in reducing travel demand in the city and we must continue to encourage people to use sustainable alternatives to driving. The Government has also been very clear about its aims to get more people travelling by bus and improve and reform services, as outlined in its Bus Back Better national bus strategy.

A full bus can remove up to 40 cars from the road network, helping reduce congestion and carbon emissions. The important role buses can play in reducing transport emissions is supported in the Government’s recently-published Transport Decarbonisation plan (Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain).

It is hoped that initial works at the Sandon Park and Ride site can begin before improvements at the Army and Navy junction so that additional capacity is available to meet the predicted increase in demand during construction and help minimise disruption. Works at Sandon are estimated to take about 11 months in total and would be phased, with specific areas of the site closed in turn, to ensure the Park and Ride service remains open throughout.

No final decisions have been made, but we will look to retain the existing wind turbine and art installation within the revised site layout if possible.

We are proposing extending the existing bus lane on Essex Yeomanry Way to include the on-slip between Maldon Road and Essex Yeomanry Way to avoid buses potentially queuing on the slip road, notably during construction works at the Army and Navy junction. This would give buses priority over other traffic and improve journey time reliability for Park and Ride services.

As part of our Safer Greener Healthier campaign, we’re working with TIER Mobility on electric (e) scooter trials in three areas of Essex, including Chelmsford. The Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has made orders that only the designated hire scooters are legal for the trial period and in the trial areas. Any e-scooters used anywhere other than the trial areas remain illegal (unless used on private land).

The Government will take the final decisions on the results of the trials and determine whether e-scooters can be legalised for wider use, but criteria will include how many people use them, safe use and benefits in replacing car journeys.

Depending on the outcome of the trials and any decisions from Government, we may consider including e-scooters as a further option at the Park and Ride sites for people to complete their journeys.

When we consulted on the Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package in 2021, the proposed package included a new Park and Ride side to the west of Chelmsford in Widford, with two site options being considered. However, in March 2022, we announced a proposed new Park and Ride site in Widford would no longer be taken forward as part of the package. The decision was made because of the significant construction costs and greater financial risks with operating any new Park and Ride site, particularly following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essex County Council would, however, still like to develop a new Park and Ride site to the west of Chelmsford and hope to be able to take that forward as part of a different project in the future.

The proposed Chelmer Valley Park and Ride expansion would increase overall Park and Ride capacity in Chelmsford to help meet a forecast increase in future demand because of planned growth.

Although it would not have as significant an impact at the Army and Navy junction as the expansion of Sandon Park and Ride, it would help reduce traffic and congestion in the wider city centre area.

It also supports Essex County Council’s wider strategy to encourage people travelling into Chelmsford from outside of the city to use an alternative means of transport than driving, as set out in the Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy.

The shuttle bus service was funded by Broomfield Hospital but was suspended in March 2020. We are currently in talks with the hospital about if/when the service will resume.

There are no changes planned to the Park and Ride service as part of the proposed expansion.

Current opening hours are 6.30am to 9.30pm. The service level is constantly monitored, however, there are currently no plans to change the opening hours.

Park and Ride remains a crucial part of Essex County Council’s vision and strategy for Chelmsford, as outlined in the Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy.

With significant growth planned to the north of Chelmsford, it was always anticipated that Chelmer Valley Park and Ride would require expansion in the future and land for the expansion was safeguarded within Chelmsford City Council’s Local Plan. The removal of a new Widford Park and Ride from the package provided the opportunity to fund this expansion.

Although Park and Ride passenger numbers have fallen since the COVID-19 pandemic, usage is beginning to recover and Park and Ride remains a crucial part of Essex County Council’s vision and strategy to provide an attractive alternative means of transport into the city centre.

The adopted Chelmsford Local Plan outlines 9,579 new homes in and around Chelmsford, including the proposed Chelmsford Garden Community in north-east Chelmsford. There are also additional large development sites proposed in the Braintree district, such as Great Notley, Towerlands and Panfield. As a result, a large increase in demand for Park and Ride services is expected in the coming Local Plan periods (up to 2036) and beyond. The forecast demand can only be accommodated by increasing the number of parking spaces at the existing Park and Ride sites.

The proposed expansion of Chelmer Valley Park and Ride is not about providing for current demand, but providing for the future.

Walking and cycling improvements

Our proposals include significantly improved walking and cycling facilities at ground-level at the Army and Navy junction, replacing the current subway and creating attractive, safe and accessible routes. This includes fully segregated cycle lanes and direct crossings, in line with the Department for Transport’s latest guidance. Optimised signal timings would also help ensure that pedestrians and cyclists can travel across the junction safely and quickly.

In addition, wider improvements are proposed on the approaches to and from the junction on Baddow Road, Van Diemans Road and Essex Yeomanry Way, as well as connections to the existing Chelmer Road to Chelmer Village and Parkway/River Chelmer routes.

Investing in all of these facilities will help to address gaps in the existing network for pedestrians and cyclists, helping to encourage more people to walk and cycle into the city centre and reducing car journeys, which has significant economic, social, health and environmental benefits.

We believe the pedestrian and cycle route improvement measures proposed at the Army and Navy junction itself offer a better alternative on the basis they would be suitable all year round, benefit from better lighting conditions and provide a more direct route.

In order to encourage more people to walk and cycle in Chelmsford, we need to provide high quality facilities that are attractive and accessible to everyone. If we were to include a subway under the Army and Navy junction, the space required for the ramps would not allow us to provide the vastly improved ground level walking and cycling facilities that we are proposing. We know that many people feel unsafe using subways, especially at night, and that ramps can be difficult for people to negotiate. By not building a subway, it allows us to provide the best quality ground level facilities that we can – fully segregated walking and cycling routes that are wide, attractive and available to all users.

Planning and background

The Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy outlines a strategy for Chelmsford’s future transport network to make all modes of transport attractive and give people real choice in the way they travel, helping to keep the city moving, protect the environment and support further growth. It sets the following vision for Chelmsford to 2036: “For Chelmsford's transport system to become 'best in class’, rivalling similar cities across the UK, offering enhanced connectivity and access to opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses to support the sustainable economic growth of the city.”

The strategy focuses on the type of journey (short, medium and long distance) and is achieved through a zonal approach, with greater emphasis on more sustainable modes towards the centre of the city. In order to achieve the vision and objectives, the approach is based on applying different types of schemes to different zones to address the transportation issues facing Chelmsford both now and in the future.

More information is available on the Chelmsford Future Transport Network Strategy page.

Yes, we have taken into account all planned growth detailed in Chelmsford City Council’s new Local Plan, including the proposed Chelmer Waterside and East of Great Baddow developments. We will continue to liaise with developers as the proposals are developed.

The decision to allow the construction of the food store was made by Chelmsford City Council as the local planning authority. We were, however, consulted as the highways authority and stipulated that Aldi needed to provide land for the dedicated left slip road between Parkway and Chelmer Road, which was constructed in 2016 – well in advance of the store.

The Chelmer Viaduct scheme was a Highways England project to replace and upgrade the previous 1930s bridge. The Army and Navy junction is Essex County Council’s responsibility and improvements to the junction would have been outside of the scope of the Chelmer Viaduct project. In addition, funding was not available and options for a long-term solution had yet to be explored.

If you have questions about the project, please email armyandnavy@essexhighways.org

 

Newsletters

03/12/21 - Army and Navy Newsletter December 2021 

15/03/22 - Army and Navy Newsletter March 2022

09/05/22 - Army and Navy Newsletter May 2022

20/09/22 - Army and Navy Newsletter September 2022

30/01/23 - Army and Navy Newsletter January 2023

08/02/23 - Army and Navy Newsletter February 2023

31/10/23 - Army and Navy Newsletter October 2023

15/01/24 - Army and Navy Newsletter January 2024

Army and Navy Task Force meetings

Meeting Minutes 15/10/2018 - PDF(178.2KB)

Meeting Minutes 10/12/2018 - PDF(100.9KB)

Meeting Minutes 04/02/2019 - PDF(114.4KB)

Meeting Minutes 17/06/2019 - PDF(131.2KB)

Meeting Minutes 15/07/2019 - PDF(13.7KB)

Meeting Minutes 27/09/2019 - PDF(106.7KB)

Meeting Minutes 24/01/2020 - PDF(95.2KB)

Meeting Minutes 28/07/2020 - PDF(133.0KB)

Meeting Minutes 04/12/2020 - PDF(150.1KB)

Meeting Minutes 22/01/2021 - PDF(153.4KB)

Meeting Minutes 09/04/2021 - PDF(141.4KB)

Meeting Minutes 04/06/2021 - PDF(148.5KB)

Meeting Minutes 02/07/2021 - PDF(103.8KB)

Meeting Minutes 03/12/2021 - PDF(150.8KB)

Meeting Minutes 30/09/2022 - PDF(139.8KB)

Public consultations

Chelmer Valley Park and Ride Consultation Brochure - PDF(6.5MB)

Chelmer Valley Park and Ride Expansion Public Consultation Report - PDF(5.7MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Promoter's Response - PDF(0.6MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Public Consultation Report - PDF(4.0MB)

Public and partner engagement

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Van Diemans Road resident meetings presentation (November 2022) - PDF(2.2MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Van Diemans Road resident meetings questions and answers (November 2022) - PDF(64.4KB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Partner briefing slides (March 2022) - PDF(3.5MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Cycling groups briefing slides (March 2022) - PDF(3.5MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Van Diemans Road resident meetings presentation (January 2022) - PDF(2.1MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Van Diemans Road resident meetings questions and answers (January 2022) - PDF(153.0KB)

Workshop information slides - PDF(1.6MB)

Stakeholder update - April 2020 - PDF(2.6MB)

Army and Navy Junction Improvements - Public Information Brochure - PDF(11.7MB)

Design drawings, plans and modelling data

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Moulsham Chase general arrangement drawing (May 2023) - PDF(1.6MB)

Van Diemans Road design drawing (November 2022) - PDF(1.2MB)

Widford Park and Ride site locations plan - PDF(4.3MB)

Widford Park and Ride (London Road site) design drawing - PDF(2.0MB)

Van Diemans Road design drawing (August 2021) - PDF(1.0MB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Local Junction Modelling Results - 13/09/22 - PDF(181.5KB)

Army and Navy Sustainable Transport Package - Local Junction Modelling Results - 10/08/21 - PDF(169.2KB)