An independent inquiry has rejected calls to widen the busy A12 to three lanes throughout Essex, although it has recommended the road be brought up to "modern dual two-lane standards".
Introducing a third lane would only be feasible if the Government reclassified the road as being of national rather than regional significance, the inquiry found. It has called for improvements as far as Ipswich, with urgent priority given to the Hatfield Peverel - Marks Tey section.
The three-day inquiry heard from 24 organisations and 36 witnesses including officials from the Department for Transport and Highways Agency, MPs, local and regional agencies and authorities, the emergency services, businesses and motoring groups.
"Many people who use it will be disappointed we have not recommended widening the road throughout Essex to three lanes," said inquiry chairman Sir David Rowlands. "But it is not going to happen as long as the Department for Transport classifies it as of only regional significance."
He added: "We have said the Department should look at this again. Meanwhile we have come up with practical and affordable recommendations, some of which can be implemented quickly, and which will make a real difference to those who use the A12."
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