Chelmsford North East Bypass
The planned new Chelmsford North East Bypass, together with the new Beaulieu Park Station, will provide important infrastructure to support planned housing and economic growth to the north of Chelmsford.
The transformational road and rail upgrade will bring long-awaited improvements to Chelmsford’s transport network and help relieve congestion on local roads in and around the city, enabling easier, more reliable and resilient journeys.
The bypass will also provide easier access to the A12 and the new station for people travelling from Braintree and surrounding areas, taking approximately 900 vehicles off city centre roads each morning.
Chelmsford North East Bypass will be delivered in phases. The first section of the bypass (Section 1A) will connect with Beaulieu Parkway in the south to the future Chelmsford Garden Community. It will provide access to both the new Beaulieu Park Station, which is currently under construction and due to open in 2025, and junction 19 of the A12 at Boreham Interchange via the new Beaulieu Parkway Bridge.
To the north, Section 1A of the bypass will join with a new east-west link road (Northern Radial Distributor Road), to be built by developers as part of the planned Chelmsford Garden Community. This road will connect the bypass to the A131 Essex Regiment Way at Wheelers Hill roundabout.
The design of Section 1A of the bypass has now been finalised and Essex County Council has gone out to tender for a contractor to build this important first phase of the scheme.
Advanced enabling works
Ahead of the construction of the first section of the bypass, advanced enabling works for the new Chelmsford North East Bypass are underway.
About the advanced works
The first package of enabling works, which are being carried out by Octavius Infrastructure, are now nearing completion and scheduled to finish in early 2024. The works involve building a new multi-modal bridge north of Beaulieu Parkway which will ultimately span the new bypass.
The bridge will initially enable the continued operation of an existing mineral quarry, Bulls Lodge, during construction and operation of the bypass. In the future, it will be modified to provide an east-west link across the bypass for all modes of transport, including pedestrians and cyclists. This will enable access to the planned new Chelmsford Garden Community and existing communities to the west of the bypass.
While delivering the Chelmsford North East Bypass advanced works, Octavius has:
- Engaged with residents by providing clear and up to date information to local communities
- Improved the environment by minimising CO2 emissions and assessing any potential opportunities for biodiversity enhancement
- Increased sustainable employment with employment opportunities for local people
- Supported the growth of local businesses by spending money with local small and medium enterprises
- Improved opportunities for young people by supporting local education providers and charities, offering industry talks, site visits and work placements
A second package of the advanced works will involve moving two silt lagoons which are located close to the planned new bypass.
A contract for these works is expected to be awarded shortly and work is due to start on site soon after.
We will update this page regularly throughout the advanced enabling works, including publishing our contractor's regular newsletters. These can be found in the Newsletters section at the bottom of this page.
You can also subscribe to our wider Chelmsford North East Bypass email newsletter.
Please email any enquiries about the advanced works or Chelmsford North East Bypass project to CNEB@essexhighways.org.
Based on the latest programme, we expect a main contractor for the first phase of the new bypass (Section 1A) to be appointed in autumn 2024.
Following enabling works, construction of Section 1A is currently scheduled to start in early 2025 and be completed by Spring 2026.
Construction of the remainder of the bypass (Sections 1B and 2) will take place in the future subject to funding being secured alongside future phases of the garden community’s development.
Given its importance to the regional economy, Chelmsford needs a transport network to match if it is to properly facilitate future development and economic growth.
As a result, Essex County Council, in partnership with Chelmsford City Council, and in collaboration with Network Rail, is behind schemes to deliver both a north east bypass of Chelmsford and a new railway station at Beaulieu.
The schemes will create important strategic road and rail links, providing the infrastructure needed to support planned housing and economic growth to the north of Chelmsford, notably Chelmsford Garden Community, which will deliver thousands of new homes, one million square feet of new business space, schools, quality open spaces and community facilities.
Housing Infrastructure Fund
The transformational road and rail upgrade is being delivered with more than £218m in funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, plus £34m of other funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and developer Countryside Zest.
In March 2019, Essex County Council submitted a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid titled ‘Chelmsford North East Bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station’ for this project.
This set out how investment into the bypass and the railway station would support the new development at Beaulieu to reach its full potential. It also demonstrated how the new bypass would help relieve congestion on local roads.
In August 2019, it was announced that the Council had been successful with its bid, receiving £218 million to take forward the plans, alongside £99million to take forward the A120-A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System project.
You can find out more by viewing our bid summaries.
Chelmsford North East Bypass
A new north east bypass will create a missing link to the wider strategic network and help relieve traffic congestion in Chelmsford.
The bypass was originally put forward in 2005. In 2008, the project was postponed because of insufficient funding, but the proposals were revisited and refreshed in 2015 following consultation with the Beaulieu Park developer and the public, resulting in minor changes to the proposed route.
In 2018, Chelmsford City Council consulted on its Local Plan, which included an updated safeguarded corridor for the proposed bypass. In 2020, the Chelmsford Local Plan was formally adopted and we held a public information event outlining the latest proposals for the Chelmsford North East Bypass.
A planning application for the proposed bypass was approved by Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee in April 2022 and the scheme is now progressing through illustrative design and procurement of a main works contractor for Section 1A. Section 1A connects Beaulieu Park Station and the A12, in the south, with the future Chelmsford Garden Community to the north. Section 1A is currently under construction with enabling works on site and further construction expected through until 2026.
Beaulieu Park Station
To find out more information about the planned new Beaulieu Park Station, which will be the first new railway station on the Great Eastern Main Line in 100 years, please visit the Network Rail webpage.
What are the future phases of the Chelmsford North East Bypass scheme?
Following construction of Section 1A, the full bypass scheme will at a future date connect northwards to Deres Bridge and Great Leighs. A new 4.6km single carriageway bypass (Sections 1A and 1B) will be constructed through Bulls Lodge Quarry and join a new roundabout on the existing A131 at Chatham Green, with a 1.2km stretch of the existing A131 between Chatham Green and Deres Bridge also widened to a dual carriageway as part of the scheme (Section 2). A new segregated left turn lane will be created, connecting Main Road, Great Leighs, at Deres Bridge to the southbound carriageway of the A131.
The future phases of the CNEB also include various walking, cycling, horse riding and bus improvements.
The following video was created in 2020 and explains the background to the Chelmsford North East Bypass project, as well as outlining the proposed bypass route and highlighting key elements of the scheme.
Please note that some design changes have been made, in consultation with land owners, since the video was published and are not reflected in the visualisations of scheme.
A new roundabout will be built to the south of Cranham Road, next to the quarry, to connect the proposed new Chelmsford Garden Village.
The bypass continues north.
The bypass will cross three rural roads (Cranham Road, Drakes Lane, and Leighs Road) with two new bridges.
At this point, the road will transition from a cutting to an embankment with bunding and landscape planting.
Two lay-bys will be built, as well as a pedestrian crossing for footpath 225_8
The route connects into the existing A131 via a new roundabout, and the A131 north of the roundabout will become a dual carriageway.
You can download a scheme information brochure, published in 2020, from the documents section below.
Previous consultation information can also be found via this link.
Chelmsford North East Bypass and Beaulieu Station brochure - Audio read-through (narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper) - 12MB