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× Major M11 milestone reached following successful bridge installation
09/06/2021
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The M11 in Essex now boasts a new bridge after crews worked night shifts for the past week to install a 500 tonne construction over the motorway as part of the ongoing Junction 7A scheme.

Work to create a vital new junction on the M11 has reached a major milestone this week, with the successful installation of a new bridge over the motorway.

The 600 tonne crawler crane lifting the beams into place over the M11 during night working.
The 600 tonne crawler crane lifting the beams into place over the M11 during night working.

A section of the motorway has been closed overnight over the last week while a 600-tonne crawler crane lifted the five 45m braced beams, each weighing up to 100 tonnes, into place as part of the ongoing M11 Junction 7A scheme.

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M11 Junction 7a

Scheme overview

The new M11 Junction 7A is a critical new infrastructure project funded through Highways England and Essex County Council. Construction work on the scheme is being undertaken by GRAHAM. Along with a new link road and upgraded Gilden Way, the junction will improve access to Harlow’s road network, helping facilitate growth and creating better connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors.

The new M11 Junction 7A and widening of Gilden Way will:

  • Create a new east-west link, which will move traffic smoothly out of Harlow on to the M11
  • Reduce congestion on the north-south links through Harlow and towards Junction 7
  • Create new public transport and sustainable travel opportunities 
  • Provide new opportunities for housing and business developments.

The scheme

Work on the scheme began in summer 2020 and is being undertaken by GRAHAM construction.

The scheme begins by widening Gilden Way from the London Road roundabout to Marsh Lane to create a three-lane road. This will provide an extra lane for traffic approaching Harlow as well as providing improved walking and cycling access.

Gilden way imageThe widening will be accommodated within the existing highway boundaries or on land transferred to Essex County Council's ownership. From near the junction with Marsh Lane, a new road to the east will be built, linking the improved Gilden Way to the M11 via a new roundabout called 'The Campions roundabout'.

A section of the old Sheering Road as it passes The Campions will become access-only for residents, while access to Mayfield Farm will also be improved.

From the new The Campions roundabout, the link road will continue towards the new motorway roundabout junction on the western side of the M11.

This is where one of two new roundabouts will be built on either side of the M11 and connected by a new bridge over the motorway. 

There will be slip roads on and off the M11 for both northbound and southbound traffic. Traffic travelling from the new M11 junction towards Harlow will use the new roundabouts, on either side of the M11, and travel along the new wide two-lane link road to The Campions roundabout.

The new junction will be complete and operational by 2022.

bridge imageHow the Link Road has evolved

Original planning permission for the M11 Junction 7A scheme was granted in July 2017. This permitted the construction of Junction 7A  with the scheme set out in three phases: 

  • Phase 1: to widen and improve Gilden Way; 
  • Phase 2A: to provide the new motorway junction, together with the southern arm of the link road and the new Campions Roundabout that connects the new junction to Lower Sheering Road;
  • Phase 2B: to provide the northern arm of the link road, between Campions Roundabout and Junction 7A, and the new Pincey Brook roundabout, which forms part of that northern arm.

The southern arm of the link road was originally designed to carry westbound traffic along a two-lane road from the new Junction 7A towards Harlow, with the northern arm carrying eastbound traffic from Harlow towards the new junction

Advanced works and services diversion for Phase 1 of the scheme commenced on Gilden Way in May 2018 and were completed in November 2019. 

However, the development requirements set out in the emerging ‘local plans’ of the surrounding district council areas are now such that Phase 2B, which enables the later connection of the new Junction 7A to a Northern Bypass road to north Harlow, is not required in the short-to medium-term.

As such Phase 1 and Phase 2A of the scheme will be constructed, except for the southern arm of the Link Road; this will be replaced by an alternative dualled Link Road scheme (two lanes in each direction) that facilitates two-way traffic.

This will enable the Junction to operate effectively until such a time as there is more certainty over planned growth to require Phase 2B. 

 latest phasing plan

Previous Engagement

From May-July 2016, we carried out extensive public consultation on the proposals for the M11 Junction 7A and the widening of Gilden Way. As part of the consultation, we ensured the proposals were well publicised, including holding public information events and displaying information at various locations. We received 149 responses, including one petition with 155 signatures.

You can download our consultation document using the link below, along with other information about the scheme.

We are grateful to everyone who took the time to consider our proposals and provide their feedback. We read and analysed each response to gain a thorough understanding of the issues, suggestions and any concerns that they contained. This information was passed onto the relevant technical leads working on the proposals, and was used to help inform future decisions on the scheme.

At the end of this process, a Preferred Route was approved by the ECC Cabinet and announced on 13 December 2016.

In 2019 a Public Inquiry took place to assess the scheme. For details on the documents and orders made available visit the publication of orders page

Contact us

 If you have any questions about the scheme please contact the GRAHAM construction team at m11j7a@graham.co.uk or by phone at 0121 362 4715. Alternatively contact Essex County Council at m11j7a@essex.gov.uk.