The A12 is the main road through deepest Essex, providing access from London to Suffolk and the key ports of Harwich, Felixstowe and Lowestoft. This is one of the few major long-distance routes that was never considered for a blue line - no motorway was ever planned here. Instead, the original Roman Road has been widened where it's in the open and bypassed where it isn't. On a map the A12 looks quite odd, a perfectly straight line that repeatedly suffers bumps of varying sizes where it swerves around towns and villages.

Between the M25 and Chelmsford, the road was meant to be replaced by a shiny new M12 as recently as the early 1990s. The proposal was simply meant to be a cheaper alternative to widening the existing road.

The A12's motorway never got off the ground and widening was attempted instead - but that too faltered. The Brentwood bypass was never widened, and north of there it's three lanes wide to Chelmsford, with the exception of one mile of the Ingatestone bypass, which inexplicably remains just two lanes wide. Recently the three-lane section northbound from Brentwood was reduced to two lanes to alleviate queuing at the point the road narrowed at Ingatestone.

Various other M12 proposals have been floated, but surprisingly none of them were really meant to relieve a substantial part of the A12. The proposals made until the 1980s were only to relieve the section of road within the M25 and not beyond.

You're not looking at the whole A12

This page is about the parts of the A12 that are designated a motorway or that have motorway characteristics. Other sections of this road will not be featured here and will not count towards the length of the road as shown below.

Start
Brentwood
End
Ipswich
Passes
Chelmsford, Colchester
Connects to
Length
53 miles

Exit list

Junction   Northbound               Southbound  
A14 J55
188.6 km
Stowmarket
Bury St Edmunds
Cambridge
A14 Link
Ipswich
A1214
Felixstowe
Lowestoft (A12)
A14 Link








A14
NORTH
A1214








A14
N/A
LanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 2 lanes 2 miles, 2 lanes
32B
180.6 km
Copdock Copdock
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
32A Capel St Mary Capel St Mary
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes  
Capel St Mary
LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
Wenham Lattinford
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
31
175.7 km
Hadleigh
East Bergholt
B1070
B1070 B1070 Hadleigh
East Bergholt
B1070
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes 0.5 miles, 2 lanes
Higham
Stoke-by-Nayland
B1068
B1068 Higham
Stoke-by-Nayland
B1068
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
30
173.3 km
Dedham
B1029
B1029 Dedham
Ardleigh
B1029
Stratford St Mary
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes  
170.4 km Stratford St Mary
LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 2.5 miles, 2 lanes
169.2 km Langham
Hornestreet
Langham
Hornestreet
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
168.1 km Ardleigh
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  0.5 miles, 2 lanes
29
166.5 km
Colchester
A1232
Harwich
Clacton
A120
Ardleigh

A120

A1232
Harwich
Clacton
A120
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 1.5 miles, 2 lanes
28
164.3 km
Hospital
(A134)
Services Colchester
(A134) Hospital
(A134)
Services Colchester
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes 3 miles, 2 lanes
27
158.9 km
Colchester
A133
A133
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 3 lanes 1.5 miles, 3 lanes
26
157.7 km
Wakes Colne
Halstead
A1124
A1124 A1124 Wakes Colne
Halstead
A1124
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 3 lanes 2 miles, 3 lanes
25
154.2 km
Braintree
A120
A120 B1408 Braintree
Stansted Airport
A120
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 2 lanes 2 miles, 2 lanes
150.1 km Easthorpe Easthorpe
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3.5 miles, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
24
148.6 km
B1024 Kelvedon
Tiptree
B1024
LanesLanesLanesLanes
   
23
144.1 km
Kelvedon
Tiptree
B1024
B1024
LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 3.5 miles, 2 lanes
142.8 km Rivenhall
Great Totham
Rivenhall
Great Totham
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes 0.5 miles, 2 lanes
22
141.7 km
Witham
B1389
B1389
(B1018)
Witham
Maldon (B1018)
B1389
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes 3 miles, 2 lanes
21
137.1 km
Witham
Wickham Bishops
B1389
B1389
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 0.5 miles, 3 lanes
20B
136.4 km
B1137 Hatfield Peverel
Nounsley
Boreham
B1137
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
  1 mile, 2 lanes
20A
134.4 km
Hatfield Peverel
Nounsley
B1137
B1137
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 3 lanes 3 miles, 3 lanes
19
129.6 km
Braintree
Stansted Airport
A130
Boreham
B1137
A138

A130
B1137 Chelmsford
A138
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2.5 miles, 2 lanes 2.5 miles, 2 lanes
18
125.6 km
Danbury
Maldon
A414
A1060 A414 Great Baddow A414
Chelmsford
A1060
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 1.5 miles, 2 lanes
17
123.6 km
Basildon
Southend
A130
Great Baddow
A1114
A1114 A1114

A130
Basildon
Southend
A130
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes 3 miles, 2 lanes
16
119.5 km
Galleywood
Stock
B1007
B1007 B1007 Galleywood
Billericay
B1007
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
2.5 miles, 2 lanes 2.5 miles, 2 lanes
15
116.3 km
Harlow
Chelmsford
A414
A414



B1002 Ingatestone
Margaretting
B1002
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 3 lanes  
14
115.1 km
Margaretting
Writtle
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 3 lanes 2 miles, 3 lanes
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2.5 miles, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  0.1 miles, 3 lanes
13
109.6 km


B1002
B1002 Ingatestone
Mountnessing
B1002
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
  1.5 miles, 3 lanes
12
107.8 km
Billericay
A1023 (A129)
Mountnessing
Ingatestone
B1002
B1002 A1023
(A128)
(A129)
Brentwood
A1023
Kelvedon Hatch
(A128)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
4.5 miles, 2 lanes 4.5 miles, 2 lanes
M25 J28
100.9 km
N/A M25






A12
SOUTH
A1023

M25







Dartford Tnl (M20 Link)
Gatwick Airport (M23 Link)
Stansted Airport (M11 Link)
Watford & (M1 Link)
Heathrow Airport (M4 Link)
M25 Link
London
Romford
A12
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
Routes

Picture credits

With thanks to John Simmons, Matthew Smith, Chris McKenna, Tim Lidbetter and Mick Wilding for information on this page.