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Army and Navy Taskforce, Chelmsford

Latest News - 08 November 2019: Public get first look at initial options for Army and Navy junction

Initial options for a long-term solution at the Army and Navy junction in Chelmsford have been shared with the public for the first time.

The junction is currently operating significantly over capacity in the morning and evening peak hours, meaning drivers regularly experience delays and it has very little resilience to cope with traffic incidents.

The issue has been compounded by the permanent closure of the Army and Navy flyover, which Essex County Council announced in September 2019 following the recommendation of a detailed engineering report. 

The council is pressing ahead with plans to remove the flyover as soon as possible, while various short-term measures have been put in place to manage traffic flow.

The initial options for the junction, which are detailed in an online public information brochure, are: 

Minor Road Layout Improvements - A package of minor improvements, including an extension to the Parkway to Chelmer Road slip road, an additional lane on the roundabout between Parkway and Essex Yeomanry Way, an extra lane on entry to the roundabout from Essex Yeomanry Way, and enhanced pedestrian and cycling routes

Two-way Flyover - A new modern standard two-way flyover allowing a significant amount of traffic to avoid the roundabout and travel to and from Parkway and Essex Yeomanry Way in both directions

Hamburger Roundabout – Otherwise known as a throughabout, traffic would be able to travel straight between Essex Yeomanry Way and Parkway through the centre of the junction without using the roundabout. Traffic travelling to other arms of the junction would use the roundabout. Traffic signals would be used to manage traffic flows and priority

Enlarged Roundabout - The existing roundabout would be enlarged into the floodplain, creating a larger circulatory. The approach lanes on Parkway would also be widened. Traffic flows would be managed by traffic signals

Separate T-Junctions - Two new T-junctions created – one linking Essex Yeomanry Way/Parkway and Chelmer Road, and the other linking Essex Yeomanry Way/Parkway and Van Diemans Road. Traffic signals would be used to control traffic flow at the junctions, as well as traffic joining Van Diemans Road from Baddow Road

The Department for Transport has stressed the importance of sustainable transport in any solution to help reduce travel demand throughout the city centre and a city-wide package of potential sustainable transport measures is being developed to complement the final scheme. 

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “We are working incredibly quickly to develop the best possible scheme for the Army and Navy.
“The junction is a crucial gateway to Chelmsford and we want to provide a long-term and sustainable solution that is an asset to the city. 

“I am very pleased to now be in a position to share the initial options that we are exploring at this early stage and we look forward to giving the public the opportunity to have their say on a revised shortlist of options at a later date, which is expected to be in late 2020 or early 2021.

“The options are being assessed to initially establish which would be the most effective in improving the junction and encouraging more sustainable travel, while avoiding putting additional pressure on other roads in the city centre.

“Steps are already being taken to reduce the programme wherever we can and we will continue to progress the project as quickly as possible, including exploring any opportunities to bring forward elements of the chosen option sooner. However, we must also ensure we get this right and achieve the best solution for Chelmsford.”

The public information brochure, which provides background to the project and outlines the initial options for the junction in more detail, including the advantages and disadvantages of the options, is available online. Printed copies will be available to view at libraries in Chelmsford from Wednesday, 13 November.

An audio read-through of the brochure, produced by local charity Chelmsford Talking Newspaper, is also available at the bottom of this page and will be sent to its listeners.

About the junction

The Army and Navy junction in Chelmsford is one of the key gateways into the city and is used by up to 60,000 vehicles a day.

The junction consists of a five-arm roundabout, which until recently had a tidal flyover that carried one-way traffic (cars only) to and from the A1060/A1114 over the roundabout. The direction of travel changed at different times of the day to support traffic flows.

The junction is already operating significantly over capacity during the morning and evening peak times.

As a result, it suffers from severe congestion and drivers regularly experience delays.

Improvements to the junction are long overdue and options are now being developed for a long-term solution.

The design, planning and development of any scheme is likely to take a number of years and will require further funding to be secured.

Removal of the flyover

The Army and Navy 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.

Essex County Council is now seeking to have the structure removed as soon as possible, with preliminary works, including the removal of automated flyover signs on the approaches to the junction, scheduled to start shortly.

The removal of the main structure is then expected to start in early 2020. More information about the upcoming works to remove the flyover can be found on the Army and Navy flyover page

Measures have already been put in place to help keep traffic moving in the interim following the flyover closure while a long-term solution for the junction is developed.

People are also encouraged to play their their part by avoiding driving at peak periods or switching to other modes of transport such as bikes, buses or walking, where possible. 

More information about travel options in Essex, including car sharing, Park and Ride services, walking and cycling routes, and bus services, is available on the Getting Around page.

Taskforce

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 any improvements identified.

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 initial options being explored and developed.

The Taskforce has raised the Army and Navy scheme with the Secretary of State for Transport and a Department for Transport (DfT) representative attended the fourth meeting. The department’s priorities for the scheme are:

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

Alongside these priorities, the DfT stressed the importance of sustainable transport infrastructure.

The taskforce also discussed their concerns over the increasing population of the city of Chelmsford and its impact on traffic congestion in the city centre. This gives the junction little resilience to cope with traffic incidents, while also influencing the productivity of businesses and air quality.

Engagement workshops

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 has been used to help inform the development of initial options for a long-term solution.

Congestion and delay at the junction were the most common points raised by those in attendance at the events and many of the other issues identified were also related to this.

In addition to congestion, there was a consensus that the flyover is an eyesore, but its removal could create more problems because network users rely on it and it is an important element of the city’s transport system.

Other common themes from the workshops included pollution, safety, housing development and its influence on traffic, the structural condition of the flyover, and cyclist and pedestrian access.

Thank you to everyone who came and shared their thoughts and their knowledge.

Initial options

The engagement workshops with local business, transport and community groups resulted in several suggested solutions to the Army and Navy junction, which were subsequently discussed by the Army and Navy Taskforce.

Extensive work has been carried out to sift a significant number of potential ideas to the five options that have now been shared with the public and are undergoing further assessment.

The options are:

  • Minor Road Layout Improvements
  • Two-way Flyover 
  • Hamburger Roundabout 
  • Enlarged Roundabout 
  • Separate T-Junctions

The options vary in their advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, environmental impact and potential to increase the capacity of the junction and reduce congestion and delay.

A city-wide package of sustainable transport measures is also being developed and will be combined with each of the five initial options, forming a vital part of the project.

Additional information about the initial options and the sifting process can be found in the public information brochure.  An audio read-through of the brochure is also available at the bottom of this page.

Next steps

At this point, no decisions have been made and the team is still assessing how the initial options could be optimised and combined with potential sustainable transport improvements.

More detailed modelling and testing of the initial options is continuing before a revised shortlist of potential solutions for the junction is agreed. A full public consultation on a refined shortlist of options will then follow and help in identifying a preferred option. This is expected to be in late 2020 or early 2021.

Steps have already been taken to reduce the programme where possible and every effort is being made to identify further opportunities. However, it is vital that we achieve the best possible solution and we must follow central government, legal and planning processes.

If you would like to be kept informed about all of the latest news on the project, please click the link in the bottom right of your screen and subscribe to our email newsletter.

Key facts on the flyover and roundabout

  • The Army and Navy junction is already operating significantly over capacity during the AM and PM peak times
  • 72 buses an hour use the Army and Navy in the AM peak.
  • Each day, up to 60,000 vehicles use the junction. Of those vehicles, about 10,000 used the flyover prior to its closure.
  • Over 50% 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 

The scheme to look at long-term improvements to the Army and Navy flyover and junction is just one of the projects looking to deliver improvements across all types of transport in Chelmsford. A package of smaller scale, short-term improvements will help to alleviate the current issues felt on the road network and help the city to keep moving forward.

They are detailed at the links below:



The 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.”


Below are our strategies

Bringing a zonal approach to achieving Chelmsford’s transport objectives.

  • Outer – Park & ride, rail, the strategic road network
  • Mid – Buses & cycling
  • Inner – Walking, public realm



Other local strategies

 

Public Information Brochure


Audio read-through (narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper) - 32MB


Documents 

Workshop information slides (1.56 MB)PDF22/03/2019
Meeting Minutes 04/02/2019 (114.39 KB)PDF08/03/2019
Meeting Minutes 10/12/2018 (100.87 KB)PDF14/01/2019
Meeting Minutes 15/10/2018 (178.22 KB)PDF14/01/2019
Meeting Minutes 17/06/2019 (131.22 KB)PDF08/08/2019
Meeting Minutes 15/07/2019 (13.65 KB)PDF24/09/2019