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M11 junction 8: Essex County Council presses ahead with upgrade including traffic lights to replace Dunmow Road roundabout, 50mph speed limit and extra lanes on exit slips

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Essex County Council (ECC) is pressing ahead with plans to upgrade junction 8 of the M11 at Bishop's Stortford.

The highways authority wants to install traffic lights to replace the A120 roundabout junction with the A1250 Dunmow Road and Birchanger Lane, provide pedestrian and cycle crossings and impose a 50mph speed limit on the A120.

A Traffic Regulation Order to sanction the work was submitted last week, giving the public the chance to comment on the project after previous permissions expired.

A120 plans (54309672)
A120 plans (54309672)

ECC has been formulating the plans since 2015. After support from the Department for Transport's National Productivity Investment Fund was granted in 2017, it is working against the clock.

The improvements at J8 aim to ease congestion as Stortford and the East Herts/Uttlesford border area continue to be a magnet for housing development and as Stansted Airport grows.

The county's studies show that the best short- to medium-term solution is to replace the existing A120/A1250 (Dunmow Road) roundabout with a signalised junction to meet forecast traffic demand up to 2036.

The A120 roundabout at the junction with Dunmow Road and Birchanger Lane near the M11 junction 8 (54317340)
The A120 roundabout at the junction with Dunmow Road and Birchanger Lane near the M11 junction 8 (54317340)

The 50mph speed limit is necessary because the roundabout replacement work is constrained by land owned by a third party and there will not be enough time to secure it. The slower speed will enable "lesser design parameters to be used".

In any case, the council says its research shows motorists' current average speed on the A120 approach to the junction is 47mph.

At present, there is nothing to prevent drivers from parking on the approach to the proposed signals, so a clearway restriction is proposed to ensure the lights are not obstructed.

As for J8 itself, there are plans to create additional lanes on both exit slips. For northbound M11 motorists onto the A120, there would be dedicated access into Birchanger Green services. For southbound drivers leaving the motorway, the extra lane would separate traffic to the airport, the A120, Takeley, the services and Bishop's Stortford.

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