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Army and Navy Taskforce, Chelmsford

Latest News - 04 December 2019: Double boost for plans to remove Army and Navy flyover

Plans to remove the Army and Navy flyover have taken two big strides forward with preliminary works completed ahead of schedule and bids for the main works now being evaluated.

Essex County Council announced in September that the flyover in Chelmsford would be permanently closed after a detailed engineering report revealed new defects within its concrete foundations. 

The council is now seeking to have the structure removed as soon as possible and is also continuing to work on a long-term solution to ease congestion and delays at the junction.

Preliminary works, including the removal of automated signs on the A1114 Essex Yeomanry Way and A1016 Parkway approaches, digging of trial holes and removal of kerbs, were carried out overnight last week and completed on Saturday 30 November - a week ahead of schedule.

The works took place at night to minimise disruption.

The council has received formal bids from a number of specialist contractors for the main works to dismantle the flyover structure and is now in the process of evaluating them. The works are expected to begin early in the new year.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “I am pleased we are continuing to make very good progress with the planned removal of the flyover and preliminary works were able to be completed a week ahead of schedule.

“I would like to thank residents, businesses and drivers for their patience while overnight lane restrictions were in place at the junction last week.

“The tender deadline for the main removal works has now passed and we are in the process of evaluating the bids before awarding a contract.

“In the meantime, we are continuing to assess potential options for a long-term solution at the junction, which is a crucial gateway to Chelmsford. 

“Steps are already being taken to reduce the programme and we will 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 it right so that any improvements encourage more sustainable travel and avoid putting additional pressure on other roads in the city centre.”

To help support the city’s residents and businesses in the lead up to the busy Christmas period, Sandon Park and Ride will be open for three consecutive Sundays from this weekend, with tickets priced at £1.50 for adults and £1 for children.

A special £5 group offer is also available throughout the winter at both the Sandon and Chelmer Valley Park and Rides. 

For more information, visit www.essex.gov.uk/parkandride

Five initial options for a long-term solution at the Army and Navy junction were shared with the public for the first time earlier this month and a public information brochure can be found on this page.

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, completed in November 2019.

The dismantling and removal of the main structure is 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