On the weekends of 24th and 25th September and 8th and 9th October, Countryside Zest, a joint venture partnership between Countryside and L&Q, carried out an important and complex milestone for the delivery of the new relief road for the residents and road users of Chelmsford.

During these weekends, the new £14m bridge connecting the new relief road with the re-aligned Boreham Interchange, was lifted from the site of its construction adjacent to the Great Eastern Main Line and A12, into its final position over the Great Eastern railway line and A12 northbound slip road.

The bridge, a 161 meter long three-span superstructure of composite weathering steel fabricated girders was initially constructed on site in a temporary location, between February 2022 and September 2022. From here, on the weekend of 24 and 25th September, the bridge was maneuvered and cantilevered over the Great Eastern railway line and the A12 north bound slip road, into a secondary location, using Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SMPTs).

The bridge then rested on a series of temporary substructures known as Trestles for two weeks, while preparations were made for the bridge’s maneuver into its final position. On the weekend of 8th and 9th October, using the SPMTs, the bridge was moved into its final position and lowered onto the permanent substructure, spanning the Great Eastern railway line and A12 northbound slip road.

With the new bridge now in position, the final stages of this £35 million infrastructure programme to provide a new radial distributor road (relief road) between the A12 and A130 moves a significant step forward.

Once open in full, the new relief road, named the A131 Beaulieu Parkway, will provide a more convenient link between the A12 (Junction 19) and the A130 (Essex Regiment Way)
and will replace Colchester Road and White Hart Lane as the strategic route to Braintree, Stansted Airport and the M11, ultimately relieving congestion in and around Springfield.

The new relief road will also provide access to the planned new Beaulieu railway station which is scheduled to complete in 2025/6. This follows the project being awarded nearly £218m of funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2019 in recognition of the scheme’s role in supporting housing growth in North East Chelmsford.

Vicky Ford, Conservative MP for Chelmsford, who was on the site with Countryside Zest on Saturday 8th October to watch the new bridge being moved into position, said: “The installation of the Generals Lane Bridge is a vital piece of infrastructure for the people of Chelmsford. A huge amount of work has gone into the construction of this bridge – made from British steel – and lifting it into place has been a hugely complex operation. The bridge will help transform our city by providing access to the new Beaulieu Park Station, forming a new relief road and linking into the Chelmsford North-East Bypass. I will continue to press for these projects to be completed as soon as possible.”

Martin Leach, Managing Director, Strategic Land and Major Projects, Countryside, said: “Lifting the new bridge into place is an important milestone for the creation of the new relief road and it’s fantastic to have reached this stage of the infrastructure programme for Chelmsford. The new relief road will significantly reduce congestion from local roads as well as providing easy access to the new Beaulieu station. Enormous thanks to our partner L&Q, our subcontractor Graham and the Countryside development team whose combined commitment and tenacity has enabled us to reach this critical stage.”

Adam Simpson, Director, Development & Project Management, L&Q said: “Transport and connectivity are key ingredients to our placemaking strategy and ensuring the needs of our growing community at Beaulieu. That is why L&Q is proud to be investing alongside our partner Countryside to bring forward vital transport infrastructure such as the new relief road, and later down the line the new station, alongside the planned facilities and homes.”

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