A120 to A133 Link Road and Rapid Transit System


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

Essex’s bids to the Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund totalled more than £500 million, covering vital transport infrastructure improvements in Colchester, Harlow and Chelmsford.

To enable Essex County Council to support sustainable planned growth, there is a necessity for high-quality transport infrastructure. This will help manage additional traffic and enhance the connectivity of future developments as well as supporting the provision of public transport.

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 £99million. 

Following an 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. On approval of the route, the team undertook more detailed design, leading to a planning application being granted by Essex County Council’s Development and Regulation Committee in November 2021.  The detailed plan of the scheme can be seen here. 

Following ground investigation work and due to rising costs, a decision was taken in 2023, with the agreement of Home England to phase the scheme, with the A133 southern section delivered first, with the road joining the A120 at a later stage of development. 

For more information on the scheme visit our frequently asked questions or contact the project team by email.

Need for the link road scheme

Linking the A120 and A133 will enable people to more easily access the A120 and A12, reducing the need to travel directly into Colchester and helping to manage congestion on more local roads.

The Link Road will also play a direct link in helping to unlock land to provide housing, business and leisure space. 

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, leisure and recreational spaces created over the coming decades. 

Ultimately forming part of the Garden Community as it develops the Link Road will create accesses into and from it, creating easy access to the A120, while also providing a connection to the new Rapid Transport System.

To read more on the Garden Community plans visit https://talk.tcbgardencommunity.co.uk

What is being proposed

The Link Road will see the creation of a 50mph dual-carriageway between the A120 and A133. Walking and cycling facilities will also be provided, which will ultimately join up with the Garden Community facilities once developed.

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, ultimately joining the A120 via a junction east of Bromley Road. 

Phasing the scheme

Following discussions with Homes England, in 2023 a funding package was agreed to deliver the first phase of the scheme, with the road due to be open in 2026. This will see the A133 linked to a new roundabout, comprising of 1.8km (just over a mile) of new dual carriageway. Phase 2 of the Link Road, funded by the developer, will see the Link Road extended to join the A120 as the Garden Community progresses.

Phase 1 of the planned A120-A133 Link Road

Phase 1 of the planned A120-A133 Link Road


Scheme timeline

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 Tendring Colchester Garden Community and a proposed 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 facilities.

What makes 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 more information on the RTS and the ongoing works please visit our Rapid Transit website at www.essexhighways.org/colchester-rapid-transit