The planned second runway at Stansted Airport in Essex will bring more road traffic to the area, but other aspects of the airport’s expansion have brought mixed fortunes to forecourts on the A120 and the A10 access roads.

Related changes to the road network are boosting the prospects of some forecourt operators, but posing problems for others.

Just before Christmas, the first half of a new 15-mile dual carriageway route for the east-west A120 was opened. When the second stage opens in mid-2004, the new highway will link Braintree with the M11, passing through the airport but bypassing towns and villages such as Dunmow and Takeley.

“We expect daily traffic volumes on the former A120, which becomes the B1256, to plummet from 27,000 to less than 5,000,” said Essex County Council highways and transportation supremo Rodney Bass. So for filling stations on the old road, where planned traffic calming will

discourage through traffic, a substantial drop in turnover is inevitable.

Opening of the new A120 section follows the 2003 completion of sliproads to and from the M11, which allows airport traffic, to and from London, to avoid the previously overloaded Junction 8 roundabout that gives access to the Shell forecourt at Birchanger Green.

As for sites affected by the latest road opening, access to Esso at Start Hill, Takeley Service Station on the old road, and to the Tesco forecourt at Dunmow is reduced.

In six months’ time, the second phase of the new road will take eastbound motorists past Dunmow and onward to forecourt and fast-food facilities on the existing dual carriageway Braintree bypass. By then work will also be well advanced on a new section of the A10, by-passing several forecourts of which one has already ceased fuel sales. The new stretch will speed northbound traffic on towards the Texaco station at Buntingford.