Changes to the Army and Navy roundabout in Chelmsford
Both local papers have recently had details on the planned improvements to the Army and Navy roundabout. Much overdue, as anyone who has been near the damn thing can testify, and the proposed £1.5m that is being spent sounds like a fair amount for works to be done.
However, on closer inspection the works planned are mainly to widen the road between the roundabout and Lynmouth Avenue. For those that can’t quite place that, it’s the section leading from the roundabout into town.
Chelmsford MP, Simon Burns was quoted as saying that “it will have a positive impact on improving a roadway that is particularly congested during the morning and later afternoon rush hour.” Whether he has determined this himself, or if he merely asked his chauffeur as he was driven to work is as yet undetermined.
The Army & Navy (or “Y & NAVY” as the illuminated sign on the Travelodge proudly boasts on dark nights) roundabout has been a bugbear of mine for many years.
Yes, it’s in vast need of improvement, and as one of the main routes in to town it is imperative that it runs smoothly and allows access to and from the City centre as easily as possible. But like the ongoing patch-up repairs that so often close the flyover on weeknights, it seems that we are merely plastering over the cracks again.
The roundabout itself needs a two-way flyover, which would result in fewer accidents where drivers who don’t know the area are so prone to going the wrong way over the flyover, or misunderstand the road markings and veer into a lane with oncoming traffic as they come off the flyover.
In addition to this it needs some decent road markings on the roundabout itself. Too many people tend to drift from one lane to another as they go round - a situation made worse by the roundabout having so many exits - and you’d be hard pressed not to find someone local who hasn’t had, or doesn’t know someone who has had a crash or a near miss as they drive around the Army and Navy.
However, credit where it is due. Widening the road is a much-welcomed start, but that’s all it should be: A start to an ongoing series of improvements. I dare say that the local council would baulk at the cost of my dual-lane flyover suggestion, yet such an improvement, however costly, would improve traffic flow as well as safety extensively.
Edit: I’ve added this edit to the blog simply because a comment posted by Nik is worth adding here. She says: “I had some people come to the door a few weeks back doing a ‘survey’ about an apparent second flyover going from Van Diemens across to the bridge towards Chelmer Village. Not seen any mention of it in the paper or on the council web site.
The idea of one flyover crossing over another flyover just makes the mind boggle.”
So a possible second flyover which doesn’t sound feasible given the height that would be needed to achieve it. Given that it is only a rumour at the moment with - as Nik points out - no mention elsewhere, then I shall leave it as a mere footnote, though it’d be interesting to hear if anyone else has heard anything similar.