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.
The 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.
How 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.