Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

Chelmsford North East Bypass granted planning approval

Press Release

A proposed new multi-million-pound bypass between Chelmsford and Braintree took another significant step forward today after the scheme was granted planning approval.

Essex County Council, working with Chelmsford City Council, submitted a planning application for the planned new Chelmsford North East Bypass, which is part of a £250 million investment that also includes a new railway station at Beaulieu.

The scheme will connect to the new Beaulieu Park development in the south and Deres Bridge and Great Leighs in the north, providing a vital link between the A120 and the A12.

Read more

Transformational Road and Rail upgrade - Chelmsford North East Bypass


          CNEB image

Chelmsford is one of the UK’s newest cities and plays a vital role in the heart of Essex providing homes, jobs, shopping, healthcare, education, leisure and recreational opportunities.

As a driver of 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 a scheme to deliver a North East Bypass of Chelmsford and a new railway station at Beaulieu.

To find out more information on Beaulieu Station please visit the Network Rail webpage.

This 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.

The existing A130 between the Boreham Interchange and the A131 was originally built in the 1980s. It needs to be fit for purpose, particularly as Chelmsford continues to grow, catering for increased walking, cycling and public transport.

What is the Chelmsford North East Bypass scheme?

The scheme will connect to the new Beaulieu Park development in the south and Deres Bridge and Great Leighs in the north, providing a vital link between the A120 and the A12.

A new 4.6km single carriageway bypass will be constructed and join a new roundabout on the existing A131 at Chatham Green, while a 1.2km stretch of the existing A131 between Chatham Green and Deres Bridge will also be widened to a dual carriageway as part of the scheme.

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 scheme also includes various walking, cycling, horse riding and bus improvements.

Benefits of the scheme

  • Provide a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport and the wider area.
  • Relieve congestion on local roads and enable existing routes into Chelmsford city centre, such as Broomfield Road and Essex Regiment Way, to become sustainable transport corridors.
  • Make accessing the new Beaulieu station a more attractive offer, reducing the need to travel into Chelmsford city centre. This will take 900 vehicles out of the city centre each morning peak, helping reduce pressure on the network, which currently only has 4% capacity at peak times.
  • Provide easier access to the A12.
  • Enable the 7,000 commuters who travel to Chelmsford from the Braintree area to get to work more quickly.
  • In conjunction with the station, the bypass will support the sustainable delivery of over 14,000 new homes, all with excellent choice and connectivity to a wide range of jobs, amenities and transport modes. 

For more information, please see the Questions and Answers sheet in the documents section below.


Next steps

The bypass planning application was approved by Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee in March 2022

Construction of the bypass is currently scheduled to begin in early 2023, with the new road expected to open in 2024/25.

Ahead of the start of the bypass works, a proposed new conveyor bridge which will span the new bypass and enable the continued operation of an existing mineral quarry, Bulls Lodge Quarry, will be constructed.

Subject to approvals and the award of a contract for the works, construction of the bridge is likely to start in summer 2022 and will take approximately a year. No major traffic disruption is expected, with the majority of the works taking place away from the existing road network. Further information will be published on this page once details are finalised

Housing Infrastructure Fund

In March 2019, Essex County Council submitted a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid titled ‘Chelmsford North East bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station’ about this project. 

This sets out how investment into the bypass and the railway station would enable the new development at Beaulieu to reach its full potential.

It also demonstrated how the new bypass will help relieve congestion on local roads.

In August 2019 it was announced that the Council had been successful in 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.

Further information  

You can download the scheme information brochure (published in 2020) from the documents section below.

Previous consultation information can be found via this link.

Chelmsford North East Bypass and Beaulieu Station brochure - Audio read-through (narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper) - 12MB