|From:||Little Waltham bypass (TL712138)|
|To:||Canvey Island (TQ799833)|
|Distance:||24.4 miles (39.3 km)|
|Meets:||A131, B1008, A1016, B1137, A138, B1137, A12,A1114, A132, A1245, (A127), A13, B1014|
|Old route now:||A1301, B184, B1008, A1114, A1245|
|Route outline (key)|
Originally starting in Cambridge, the northern part of the A130 was downgraded after the M11 was built roughly parallel, and is now the A1301 and B184. Subsequently, the northern starting-point of the A130 was for some time at a roundabout on the original A120 Dunmow bypass (now B1256). With the opening of the Bishop's Stortford to Braintree dual carriageway, the start point was again moved south, to the Dunmow South Interchange. Finally, in 2008, the section between Great Dunmow and Little Waltham was downgraded, becoming the B1008.
The remaining route can be split into three distinct sections: an isolated primary section from Little Waltham to the Chelmsford Bypass; a high-quality dual-carriageway section from Howe Green Interchange to Sadlers Farm; and a mainly new-build access road to Canvey Island.
Section 1: Little Waltham – Chelmsford bypass
The A130 now starts at a junction with the A131 at Little Waltham. We reach an improved section which skirts the northern suburbs of Chelmsford. At a junction with the A1016, we turn left and follow a succession of roundabouts through the suburbs. After going over the A138 (obviously a former route of the A12) we reach the B1137 on the original line of the A12 and follow that towards Colchester where we meet the present A12 at the end of the bypass.
This looks like the end, but there's more.
Heading down the bypass towards London, we find the A130 resuming a couple of junctions further on, at a large and very busy dumbbell junction – the route back into Chelmsford here is the A1114).
Section 2: Chelmsford Bypass – Sadlers Farm
The section from Howe Green Interchange to Benfleet is very new, and is replete with hard shoulders and bans on tractors, horses etc. – almost a motorway. It is not trunk, but under the control of Essex County Council. It was built by private finance, with the council agreeing a 30-year DBFO deal with CountyRoute, and opened in two phases in 2002 and 2003, running in parallel with the old single carriageway route.
In October 2015 it was announced that the hard shoulder was to be converted into a running lane, scheduled to come into operation in 2016. This was after a clause in the contract was triggered after usage rose to 50,000 vehicles per day over two consecutive months.
The new route, after crossing the A132 and then running parallel with the old Battlesbridge bypass across the River Crouch, reaches a junction with the A127 – complete with slip lane. Because of the proximity of the railway line here, the roads actually cross without direct access between them – it is necessary to use a short length of A1245 (former A130) to connect, and requires a 270-degree left turn to access the westbound A127, facilitated by a slip lane. (There is also a slip lane for northbound traffic staying on the A130) Curiously "London" is signposted along the A127 here, although following this would bring you back onto the same road you left at Chelmsford, the A12, at Gidea Park. Anyone coming down the A130 intending to get to London would surely want to use the A13?
Sure enough, "London A13" appears on the overhead gantries, which is for the Sadlers Farm junction at South Benfleet. This was a magic roundabout but was converted to a grade separated roundabout interchange more recently. The main line of the junction now links the dual carriageway section of the A130 with the A13 towards London, meaning that to continue on our A130 journey we need to TOTSO by leaving the dual carriageway at the junction, and following signs for the A130 from the roundabout above.
Section 3: Sadlers Farm – Canvey Island
This is the modern access to Canvey, replacing the original B1014 route through Benfleet. It is named Memorial Way, but whether in memory of the victims of the 1953 flood, which destroyed much of the area, or some other event, I have not been able to find out.
A surprise is in store – as we breast the small incline away from Sadlers Farm, the ground suddenly falls away ahead of us, as the road sweeps down from 100 feet above sea level to the causeway leading across to the island, where it cannons off the B1014 and further on ends at a TOTSO with the same road. However, I must leave you to explore these on your own – when I got to this point my trip computer informed me I had less than a mile of fuel left (that’s about a wine-glass full). So with the distant prospect of the Canvey Oil Terminal, with its tanks holding enough fuel to take my car thousands of times round the world, frustratingly only four miles away, I have to turn back to Benfleet to fill up.
The A130 has moved south from its original route, given in the 1922 Road Lists as Cambridge (Trumpington) - Saffron Walden - Great Dunmow -Chelmsford - Rayleigh.
It started on the A10 (now A1309) in Trumpington, to the south of Cambridge. After running through Great Shelford it met the A11 at Stump Cross near Hinxton and multiplexed with that road (now the B1383) as far as Littlebury where it regained its number. By the 1960s Littlebury had gained a bypass (formed from upgrading unclassfied roads) which was numbered A130, thus removing the multiplex (the A11 route did not change at this time). The A130 then continued through Saffron Walden and Thaxted to Great Dunmow, where it crossed the A120 before meeting the A131 near Little Waltham. After going through the centre of Chelmsford it met its current route for the first time near Howe Green. After going through Battlesbridge the road ended on the A129 to the west of Rayleigh. Not until the 1960s was the road extended to the A127 even though that road was built in the 1920s. Later still, a new road was built onto Canvey Island between the A13 and B1014 which was numbered A130 - and the link between the two was completed in the 1970s. Some time later, the A130 was extended along what was the B1014 into the built-up area of Canvey Island when the other road was given its current route.
At the northern end, the A130 has gradually been truncated since the 1970s. The road between Trumpington and Great Dunmow was downgraded along with the A11 following the completion of the M11. From Trumpington to Stump Cross the road is now numbered A1301 and from there to Great Dunmow it is the B184. The next section of road, as far as the Little Waltham bypass, remained the A130 until 2008 when it was downgraded to become the B1008. This number, incidentally, was given to the old A130 between there and Chelmsford when the number was moved onto the current bypass; downgrading therefore extended the B1008.
South of Chelmsford the A130 still exists on more-or-less the same route, although this has been heavily upgraded in recent years and so very little, if any, of the original A130 still bears that number. South of Rettendon the ex-A130 is now numbered A1245 - and it is that road that still provides access to the A127.