|To:||Chipping Ongar (TL551039)|
|Distance:||16.9 miles (27.2 km)|
|Meets:||A13, A1013, B188, A127, A1023, A113, A414, B184|
|Old route now:||A126|
|Route outline (key)|
The A128 is a largely rural A-road in south Essex.
The road used to start from Tilbury. Before the coming of the M25 it was one of the main routes for lorries northwards from Tilbury Docks and from parts of Essex to the Dartford Tunnel. The section from Tilbury to the A13 was downgraded to unclassified following the building of the A1089 to Tilbury Docks and the road lost its primary status after the M25 opened.
Tilbury – Orsett
The original southern end of the A128 was on the A126 on Dock Road in Tilbury, where that road turned from Dock Road onto Hairpin Bridge. The A128 then headed north along Montreal Road out of town before running through Chadwell St Mary to reach the A13 to the south of Orsett. The southern part of this road is now part of a rerouted A126 and the road through Chadwell is now unclassified.
Orsett – Chipping Ongar
The A128 starts from the grade-separated roundabout junction of the new and old A13 (now A1013) at Orsett. This is known as the Orsett Cock, named after the former Cock Inn (still in situ to the southeast of the roundabout but now an Indian restaurant).
The road heads north. It is a single carriageway but from the junction is wide and straight most of the way to the A127 Southend Arterial. The road used to cross the A127 at grade with the “Halfway House” pub off the roundabout junction. When the A127 was improved in the 1970s to a grade-separated junction, a half-mile new section of the A128 was built to the East to link up with the new roundabout above the A127. The pub is still there but is marooned down a dead end road off the A128 to the north (although it's also accessible from the eastbound A127). The A128 continues northwards but narrows and has twists through the villages of Herongate and Ingrave. Just before Brentwood town centre there is a small roundabout for the junction with the B186. You are now right next to Brentwood public school whose famous pupils include Douglas Adams and Griff Rhys Jones.
Reaching Brentwood town centre there is an offset junction to continue where the road crosses the A1023 (formerly A12) Brentwood High Street. This used to be controlled by three-phase lights and was notorious for delays. The lights were replaced with a double mini-roundabout system, which has improved matters. This was in the early eighties, about the time of the M25 opening.
Continuing northwards there are some mini roundabouts for local roads. The A128 then crosses the busy A12 Brentwood by pass which is in a deep cutting. There is no junction with this road (you should have taken the A1023). After the suburbs of Brentwood (in the form of Pilgrims Hatch) are left behind, the road becomes rural in character again and there is a good straight section of road known locally as the “Straight Mile” although actually measured at about three-quarters of this. Then comes the village of Kelvedon Hatch. There is a "comedy" sign here to direct you to a Secret Nuclear Bunker (now a tourist attraction). More narrowing and weaving follow until you reach Chipping Ongar. The road used to come to a T-junction where there was a TOTSO with the A113. This junction is now controlled by a mini roundabout. Turning right you pass through the narrow High Street of Chipping Ongar and then past its former tube station, closed in 1994 and now reopened as part of a preserved railway. The road ends at the roundabout junction with the primary route A414 and B184 just north of here. Until at least the 1970s the A128 actually ended on the A113 and it was that road that continued through Chipping Ongar.