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£7million revamp for Southend's Tesco roundabout
7:30am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
A BOTTLENECK roundabout on the A127 will be bulldozed and replaced with traffic lights under new proposals.
The Echo can reveal Southend Council wants to axe the current format of the Tesco’s roundabout, one of the major junctions on the main route into the town.
The authority is planning to spend £7million adding five extra lanes and using lights to control the traffic - and the work could happen within 18 months.
Paul Mathieson, the council’s group manager for strategic transport, said: “The proposed improvement is part of a package of measures that must be delivered to ensure the A127, which is a vital artery for the economic well-being of Southend, is able to cater for the demands placed on it as a driver for economic growth.
“The expected outcome of the scheme will be to support the creation of 7,000 new jobs and the construction of 1,785 new houses by 2021.
“This will be achieved by removing the pinch point of the Tesco roundabout, which results in delays and therefore unreliable journey times during the peak hours.”
Council chiefs outlined their intention to rework the Tesco’s roundabout and two other bottleneck A127 junctions - Kent Elms and the Bell - late last year.
However, no details had been released about the scheme until now.
The new-look junction will double the number of lanes for traffic coming into Southend from two to four, with extra lanes also added for motorists leaving Tesco or arriving from Nestuda Way.
Traffic light controls will stop one flow of traffic dominating another, with sensors used to detect the size of queues in each direction and prioritise certain lanes accordingly.
Bosses estimate the changes will shave at least two minutes off drivers’ commutes during the morning and evening rush hours, as well as helping to stop shoppers becoming trapped in the supermarket’s car park.
However, motorists do face at least six months of roadworks misery if the project goes ahead.
They hope to secure at least two-thirds of the costs of the scheme - about £5million - from the Government.
If the bid is successful, work would get under way in April next year and finish by the end of January 2015.
Similar revamps of Kent Elms and the Bell will follow at some point between April 2015 and March 2019.
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