Highways England has announced plans to widen a 15-mile section of the A12 route, which serves as a major link between the East of England and London.

The road will be widened between Chelmsford and Marks Tey to boost safety and cut down journey times.

The announcement confirms the widening of the A12 between junctions 19 and 23 and sets out four new options for improvements between junctions 23 and 25.

Highways England project lead for A12 Stephen Elderkin said: “The A12 is a key route connecting the East of England to London. With the high levels of congestion, it’s a route that Highways England and the Government are committed to improving.

“Our proposed improvements will increase safety and average speeds, so that someone travelling on the A12 daily can expect to save over an hour of travel time each week.”

UK Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I want the A12 to be as safe as possible for the 90,000 people who use it each day. That is why we are committed to modernising this major road, supporting growth in the region and improving journeys for all.”

Traffic congestion on the route is currently increasing journey times by 50%, as well as raising safety issues. Collisions on the A12 are 20% more likely to result in death or serious injury.

At key places between junctions 19 and 23, the existing A12 corridor will be widened to three lanes in each direction. A new three-lane bypass will be built in each direction at Rivenhall End.

Following the construction of the new three-lane A12 route, the existing road will be handed over to Essex County Council for use by local traffic.

By 2020, Highway England is expected to announce its preferred route between junctions 23 and 25.