MAJOR investment could be coming to major junctions on the A127 as part of a £44.24million revamp.
Essex County Council and Southend Council have submitted a joint bid for Government cash to build a new sliproad connecting the A127 to the A130 at the Fairglen Interchange, between Rayleigh and Basildon, add extra lanes at the Kent Elms and Bell junctions in Southend and add an extra lane to the Nevendon Interchange roundabout, to Wickford.
Business leaders say the investment is much needed because the 90-year-old dual carriageway is “creaking” under the strain of more and more vehicles using the route everday.
Experts estimate a total of £76million of work is needed to help south Essex generate an extra £2.4billion for the economy.
David Burch, from the Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “It’s an old and creaking road. We have been advocating very strongly for it to be upgraded to bring further economic benefits to Southend and south Essex.
“We fully support proposals by Essex and Southend councils to apply for funding and we have much hope they will be successful.”
The tricky revamp of the Fairglen Interchange, which is used by more than 70,000 vehicles a day, could cost up to £15million alone and may need the purchase of Morbec Farm, estimated at more than £1million.
The new slip road would cut across the farmland north of A127, connecting its eastbound carriagewaywith the A130 and on to Chelmsford and north Essex.
Drivers currently have to leave the A127, join the A1245 and A130, including traversing two roundabouts, passing two sets of signals, and travelling 1.5miles, equivalent to 3 minutes journey time – not including any time spent stationary at signals.
Fourth lanes could be added to the approaches in £5million overhauls of the Kent Elms and Bell junctions and the dedicated right turn feeder lanes extended to prevent waiting vehicles from blocking through traffic.
Footbridges at both junctions would be lost to carriageway widening and replaced by “toucan” crossings, which are for pedestrians and cyclists.
A third lane could be added to the roundabout at Nevendon, stopping traffic heading to Wickford backing up on to the A127, at a cost of £893,000.
Southend Council has agreed for the work to be included in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s bid for Government cash at the end of this month.
The county council is expected to agree the application next Tuesday.
The Government will decide allocations in July and work could be factored into the authorities’ budgets from next year.