Essex A120: Fears grow over scrapping of road upgrade between Braintree and Colchester

National Highways issued a newsletter about the roading project in March Credit: National Highways

Two councils have voiced fears that a planned upgrade to a major route in Essex could be shelved - warning that they would be "bitterly disappointed" if it did not go ahead.

The leaders of Braintree District Council and Essex County Council have spoken out following reports that the A120 Braintree link road to Colchester was going to be put on hold.

In a joint statement Graham Butland, leader of Braintree District Council, and Kevin Bentley, leader of Essex County Council, said they were looking into news that the cost of the project had become an issue.

They have asked the government and National Highways for more detail on the reports.

"We are investigating reports the government is considering the possibility of ceasing work on the proposed upgrade of the A120 between Braintree and the A12 due to cost pressures," they said.

“The A120 is a vital road for the future economic growth of Braintree and wider Essex, a road that links Stansted Airport and Freeport East.

"Residents, road users, businesses and the wider economy would reap the benefits of a fit-for-purpose A120.

“We are requesting further details from National Highways and the government on the current position of the project. We will be bitterly disappointed if this proves true."

The local MP, Education Secretary James Cleverly, said that no decision on the project's future had been made yet but reiterated its importance.

On Twitter he said: "I have written, alongside @pritipatel and @willquince, to the Treasury restating how important this investment on the A120 is. No decisions have yet been made."

In its information about the project, National Highways said: "The A120 is a key route for the local and national economy.

"Commuters, freight, residents and businesses suffer daily lengthy delays on this single carriageway road which costs the country millions of pounds every year."

One of the key benefits of the scheme was listed as reducing delays due to congestion, as well as road noise.

The National Highways said in March that this "potential new route would improve thequality and connectivity within the A120 corridor for walkers, cyclists and horse riders as well as users with disabilities".