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Army and Navy Taskforce, Chelmsford

Latest News - 16 September 2019: Army and Navy flyover to permanently close

A detailed engineering report on the Army and Navy flyover has recommended that the structure should not reopen to traffic because it has come to the end of its life. 

The report says monitoring of the structure, which initially focused on temperature related movement, has been widened and revealed new defects within the flyover’s concrete foundations. The report concludes that for reasons of safety the flyover should not reopen to traffic again.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “I will not place any Essex resident in danger.

“A short-term fix of the movement caused by the very hot weather will not enable safe use of the flyover. The central recommendation of the report I received today is that the Army and Navy flyover should not be repaired and re-opened and I will abide by that recommendation.

“This is an emergency situation and I would ask for patience and understanding during this challenging time. Many people are taking committed action to improve this junction as soon as possible. 

“My focus, and the focus of the Army and Navy Taskforce, is to now decide along with Vicky Ford MP, Chelmsford City Council, and local parish and residents, on a solution to the Army and Navy junction and to secure funding to deliver that solution as quickly as possible.

“The flyover cannot be left in its current condition, even with no traffic using it, as it is still experiencing movement. Therefore I will now be looking urgently at the next steps to remove the flyover.

“At the same time, we are continuing to urgently progress plans for a new junction at this critical part of Chelmsford and will work with the public to conclude this work. 

“Until then I repeat my advice to plan ahead and switch to alternative methods of transport like buses, bikes or simply walking to get to school or work.

“We know that the whole of Chelmsford feels the effects when there are problems at the Army and Navy flyover, but we cannot put the safety of people at risk by allowing them to use the structure.”

Cllr Bentley thanked road users who have already switched to different forms of transport to get into and out of Chelmsford.

Measures have already been implemented to keep traffic moving at the junction and through the city, including

  • Optimising the part-time signals at the Army and Navy roundabout
  • Opening the Parkway slip lane at the New London Road/Parkway junction and the operation of the signals at this location working independently on each side of Parkway
  • Non-urgent roadworks on the main corridors into the city centre have now been prevented from taking place
  • An additional bus to/from Sandon Park and Ride has been provided during peak hours
  • The continuing refinement of traffic signal timings in the city
  • Taxis and motorcycles are now prevented from extending the green light from a bus priority signal on Essex Yeomanry Way, heading toward the Army and Navy roundabout.

All of the details and alternative options for travel in the city, including, cycling, walking and public transport, are available online at: www.essexhighways.org/transport-and-roads/getting-around.aspx 

A steering group including County, City and Parish councillors, local residents’ representatives and Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford, will meet next week to continue work to define the future of the junction.

For the latest news on the junction, visit this page or follow @EssexHighways or @Essex_Travel on Twitter. 

For more information about the scheme, and to keep up with short term updates please revisit this page or follow @EssexHighways or @Essex_Travel on Twitter

About the junction

The Army and Navy Flyover in Chelmsford carries one-way traffic (cars only) from the A1060/A1114 over the Army and Navy roundabout.  The direction of travel changes at different times of the day in a bid to support traffic flows, however the flyover is routinely closed overnight in both directions, seven days a week.

The flyover is located at the Army and Navy Junction in Chelmsford, one of the key entry points in to Chelmsford. It is a five-arm roundabout with a flyover and is heavily congested during peak times.

Safety

The flyover has been the subject of a number of closures during summer 2018 which required further investigating. These investigations have now been concluded. The flyover is open and is safe to use.

The flyover structure will be subject to an enhanced monitoring regime to ensure that it remains open for use.

The development of future options for the whole junction, either in replacing the existing flyover with a permanent structure or seeking an alternative solution will now proceed as a priority. The design, planning and development of any scheme is likely to take a number of years and will require further funding to be secured.

Taskforce

A Taskforce consisting of a panel of elected members from the City, including the Parish Council, and Vicky Ford MP, and will have oversight and ownership of the development of the business case.

They will be supported in their work by officers from both the County and City Councils.

Long term solution progress

Engagement workshops

We have now finished our engagement workshops with Business, Transport and Community user group representatives and have received lots of good information to feedback to the design teams. The engagement activities generated over 100 different ideas for the junction going forward. Better performing proposals will be brought to a series of future public consultation events which will be open for all to attend.

There will be an engagement report on the output of the workshops which will be uploaded to the website. For an update of when this will happen please subscribe to our Newsletter at the link in the bottom right corner of your screen.

You can also find the slides used in a presentation by our project team at the workshops down in the documents section at the bottom of the page alongside the minutes of each Taskforce meeting.

Thank you to everyone who came and shared their thoughts and their knowledge.

Taskforce meetings

We have also had two recent meetings with our Taskforce panel of elected representatives.

The Taskforce has raised the Army and Navy scheme with the Secretary of State for Transport and a Department for Transport representative attended the fourth meeting. The department’s priorities for the scheme are:

  1. Safeguarding the productivity of Chelmsford
  2. Managing congestion at peak times
  3. Considering the structural condition of the flyover
  4. Incorporating the scheme into the wider transport vision for Chelmsford

Alongside these priorities, the DfT stressed the importance of sustainable transport infrastructure.
The taskforce also discussed their concerns over the increasing population of the city of Chelmsford and its impact on traffic congestion in the City centre. This gives the junction little resilience to cope with traffic incidents whilst also influencing the City’s productivity, air quality and environmental impact.

Next steps

Following on from the successful workshops in March, we will follow this with wider engagement later in 2019 which will allow everyone to have their say on progress so far on the scheme. This is an additional stage in advance of the formal consultation, as we recognise the importance of gathering local opinion at this early stage. This will be based primarily online with provision for those without access to the internet to be included. We will then be going to full options consultation in 2020 with options for the public to feedback on.

We will be updating the website with more information on this later in the year, if you would like to be kept informed please click the link in the bottom right of your screen and we will add you to the newsletter list.

Key facts on the flyover and roundabout

  • The Army and Navy junction is operating at 97% in the AM peak and 95% in the PM peak.
  • 72 buses an hour use the Army and Navy in the AM peak.
  • Each day, up to 60,000 vehicles use the junction and 10,000 of those vehicles use the flyover.
  • During the period from 2011 to 2018 there were a total of 80 collisions around the junction: 1 of which was fatal, 9 serious and 70 classed as slight.
  • Over 50% of journeys to work in Chelmsford are made by private vehicle but are less than 5km in length
  • If everyone in Chelmsford were to switch just two of their journeys to work (including to the train station) each week to sustainable modes, this would remove 165,000 trips from the network

The scheme to look at long-term improvements to the Army and Navy flyover and junction is just one of the projects looking to deliver improvements across all types of transport in Chelmsford. A package of smaller scale, short-term improvements will help to alleviate the current issues felt on the road network and help the city to keep moving forward.

They are detailed at the links below:

 

 

The vision for Chelmsford to 2036

“For Chelmsford's transport system to become 'best in class' rivalling similar cities across the UK offering enhanced connectivity, and access to opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses to support the sustainable economic growth of the city.”

 

Below are our strategies

 

Bringing a zonal approach to achieving Chelmsford’s transport objectives.

  • Outer – Park & ride, rail, the strategic road network
  • Mid – Buses & cycling
  • Inner – Walking, public realm

 

Other local strategies