The A12 is one of the UK’s major roads and stretches from London all the way to Lowestoft in Suffolk. As with the A14 and the A55, this may be an A road but large parts have junction numbers in the style of a motorway.
The 53 miles of the 129-mile A12 that runs through Essex from Brentwood to Ipswich is the main road through Essex. There was never a suggestion of a motorway being planned here and instead the existing Roman Road was widened where it could be and then bypassed where it couldn’t.
In a 2007 survey, the A12 was named the worst road in Britain due to regular roadworks and poor road conditions. Regular roadworks remain a problem along this route.
The Great Britain numbering scheme saw the initial formation of the A12 in 1922 and was originally routed from Stratford to the Gallows Corner junction near Romford and continued to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
The route has since changed as the most southern part of the A12 begins just north of the Blackwall Tunnel. From there the A12 runs north to Bow, then Hackney Wick. The road then heads northeast through Leyton and Romford into Essex past Brentwood and Colchester. When the road reaches Suffolk it connects to Ipswich and Saxmundham before navigating the coast through to Lowestoft.
As this road connects London to Essex and Suffolk, it is a busy route and is important to check for A12 traffic updates before you travel.
Worst Junctions on the A12
Junction 55 is located where the A14, A12 and A1214 meet near Ipswich. What were supposed to be improvement works in recent years have unfortunately caused further headaches for motorists using this junction. Vehicles are now required to wait at the traffic lights at the end of the slip road, which results in A12 traffic queuing back onto the A14 causing heavy congestion.
This is junction 19 and is located at northern end of the Chelmsford Bypass, where the A12 rejoins the original Roman Road. The issue here is that the bypass reroutes so far outside of Chelmsford that it adds miles on to the journey. It’s full of tricky little junctions and is only two lanes wide when it is required to manage high volumes of traffic coming from important routes. Expect to be delayed by congestion and keep the bypass in mind when planning your journey.
Brook Street Interchange
This is where the M25 motorway meets the A12 in Essex. There are proposed plans for the junction to be improved with the view to improve traffic flow. This is because the junction includes a three-level stacked roundabout - these tend to cause chronic congestion which has historically been a problem for the Brook Street Interchange.
Eastern Avenue/Redbridge Roundabout
This junction is where the A12 Eastern Avenue meets the A406 at Redbridge and is a regular name on traffic congestion updates. When taking this route, plan extra time for your journey.
Accident Hotspots on the A12
Where the A12 at Eastern Avenue meets the A406 at Redbridge isn’t only a regular location for congestion, it’s also unfortunately a known accident hotspot. Transport for London has carried out a number of improvement works on this particular junction, including adding traffic lights at the roundabout and distinction markings to reduce the risk of accidents.
The stretch of A12 between Capel St Mary and Stratford St Mary, including the part of road between East Bergholt and Dedham, has seen a number of accidents over the years. Highways England began a consultation regarding this particular part of the road in 2017.
The A12 at Gants Hill is a notorious part of road for road traffic incidents. The Mayor of London proposed to reduce the speed limit of the road in 2018 in an attempt to reduce the risk of serious injury and accident related deaths. This has, however, caused concerns that there will be hold ups and tailbacks at other junctions and sections of the road.
Upcoming A12 Major Roadworks
As the A12 starts in London and spans a great distance to the coast of Suffolk, improvement plans for this stretch of road are always being looked into. Ensure you review your journey before setting off using the RAC Route Planner. This will help you find any A12 traffic news you need to know about roadworks or delays along your route.
Upcoming major roadworks on the A12 include:
M25/A12 junction 28
The upgrading of junction 28 of the M25 between the M25 and the A12 in Essex is planned to start in 2021/22. This is a major scheme with an estimated cost of £50 million to £100 million. Completion date is still to be confirmed.
A12 Chelmsford to A120
This is a proposed scheme to widen the A12 between junction 19 at Chelmsford and junction 25 at the A120 interchange. This planned major scheme is predicted to start between 2020 and 2025 and costs and completion dates are yet to be confirmed.