Chelmsford North East Bypass
Advanced enabling works
Advanced enabling works for the new Chelmsford North East Bypass are underway.
These works are another significant milestone for the Chelmsford North East Bypass - a planned new 4.6km single carriageway bypass between the current Beaulieu development and a new roundabout on the A131 at Chatham Green.
About the advanced works
The enabling works are needed to allow the continued operation of an existing mineral quarry, Bulls Lodge, during construction and operation of the bypass.
They involve building a new multi-modal bridge which will ultimately span the new bypass and support the quarry’s conveyor belt and quarry traffic. In the future, it will also provide an east-west link across the bypass for all modes of transport, including pedestrians and cyclists. This will enable access to the planned new Chelmsford Garden Community and existing communities to the west of the bypass.
Octavius Infrastructure has been appointed as the contractor for the advanced works and are now working on site, north of Beaulieu Parkway.
The scheme involves building a single span integral highway bridge structure and approach embankments and carriageway. The structure will comprise steel beams with a reinforced concrete deck, integral abutments and piled foundations.
While delivering the Chelmsford North East Bypass advanced works, Octavius has also committed to:
- Engage with residents by providing clear and up to date information to local communities
- Improve the environment by minimising CO2 emissions and assessing any potential opportunities for biodiversity enhancement
- Increase sustainable employment with employment opportunities for local people
- Support the growth of local businesses by spending money with local small and medium enterprises
- Improve opportunities for young people by supporting local education providers and charities, offering industry talks, site visits and work placements
How it will affect you
We do not expect any major traffic disruption, with most work taking place away from the existing road network.
Our contractor, Octavius Infrastructure, will also aim to minimise any potential disruption to local residents and businesses throughout the works, which are currently scheduled to be finished in early 2024.
We will update this page regularly throughout the works, including publishing our contractor's monthly newsletters. These can be found in the Newsletters section at the bottom of this page.
You can also subscribe to our wider Chelmsford North East Bypass email newsletter.
Please email any enquiries about the advanced works or Chelmsford North East Bypass project to CNEB@essexhighways.org.
Thank you for your understanding and co-operation as we move forward with this vital project.
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 schemes to deliver a North East Bypass of Chelmsford and a new railway station at Beaulieu.
The 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 schemes will create important strategic road and rail links, providing the infrastructure needed to support planned housing and economic growth to the north of Chelmsford, notably Chelmsford Garden Community, which will deliver more than 10,000 new homes, 1 million square feet of new business space, schools, quality open spaces and community facilities.
Chelmsford North East Bypass
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. A new north east bypass will create a missing link to the wider strategic network and help relieve traffic congestion in Chelmsford.
A proposed new north east bypass was originally put forward in 2005. In 2008, the project was postponed because of insufficient funding, but the proposals were revisited and refreshed in 2015 following consultation with the Beaulieu Park developer and the public, resulting in minor changes to the proposed route.
In 2018, Chelmsford City Council consulted on its Local Plan, which included an updated safeguarded corridor for the proposed bypass. In 2020, the Chelmsford Local Plan was formally adopted and we held a public information event outlining the latest proposals for the Chelmsford North East Bypass.
A planning application for the proposed bypass was approved by Essex County Council's Development and Regulation Committee in April 2022 and the scheme is now progressing through illustrative design and procurement of a main works contractor.
Beaulieu Park Railway Station
To find out more information about the planned new Beaulieu Park Railway Station, which will be the first new station on the Great Eastern Main Line in 100 years, please visit the Network Rail webpage.
What is the Chelmsford North East Bypass scheme?
The scheme will connect to the new Beaulieu development in the south (joining a new relief road, known as Beaulieu Parkway, which will provide connectivity to the A12 at Boreham Interchange) 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 through Bulls Lodge Quarry and join a new roundabout on the existing A131 at Chatham Green, with a 1.2km stretch of the existing A131 between Chatham Green and Deres Bridge also 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 Park Railway 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.
The following video was created in 2020 and explains the background to the Chelmsford North East Bypass project, as well as outlining the proposed bypass route and highlighting key elements of the scheme.
Please note that some design changes have been made, in consultation with land owners, since the video was published and are not reflected in the visualisations of scheme.
A new roundabout will be built to the south of Cranham Road, next to the quarry, to connect the proposed new Chelmsford Garden Village.
The bypass continues north.
The bypass will cross three rural roads (Cranham Road, Drakes Lane, and Leighs Road) with two new bridges.
At this point, the road will transition from a cutting to an embankment with bunding and landscape planting.
Two lay-bys will be built, as well as a pedestrian crossing for footpath 225_8
The route connects into the existing A131 via a new roundabout, and the A131 north of the roundabout will become a dual carriageway.
We had agreed a contract with Homes England to deliver the bypass by March 2025. However, the economic situation in the UK with rising inflation, coupled with the effects of the war in Ukraine and associated price increases for materials, particularly steel, have led to a funding shortfall.
Therefore, we have agreed with Homes England a new phased approach to deliver some elements of the bypass ahead of others, while still improving transport links and facilitating significant growth.
The proposals will see the southern section (section 1A) of the bypass delivered with the current funding allowance, in 2026. This will connect with the Beaulieu Parkway relief road in the south and provide connectivity to the A12 at Boreham Interchange when Generals Lane Bridge opens later this year. To the north, the road will join with a new east-west road which is due to be delivered as part of the planned Chelmsford Garden Community and will connect to the Wheelers Hill roundabout on the A130 Essex Regiment Way.
It is intended the remaining elements of the bypass will be delivered when required to support local development plans.
Housing Infrastructure Fund
In March 2019, Essex County Council submitted a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid titled ‘Chelmsford North East bypass and Beaulieu Railway Station’ for this project.
This set 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 would help relieve congestion on local roads.
In August 2019, it was announced that the Council had been successful with 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.
You can download a scheme information brochure, published in 2020, from the documents section below.
Previous consultation information can also be found via this link.
Chelmsford North East Bypass and Beaulieu Station brochure - Audio read-through (narrated by Chelmsford Talking Newspaper) - 12MB