AVERAGE traffic speed on the A127 has become steadily slower, year on year, since 2009.

This is confirmed by the latest statistics. Those who use the A127 on any sort of regular basis hardly need any tables of figures to make them aware of this fact.

No mystery attaches to the steady deceleration. The A127 has not got any bigger, but the volume of traffic most definitely has.

Not everything about the A127 amounts to negative news. The introduction of average speed cameras and a 50mph limit along the eastern stretch, have made it a much safer road.

But the increase in vehicle numbers shows no sign of levelling out, so logically the congestion looks set to go on increasing until saturation point is reached.

Southend Council has delivered a rolling programme of improvements at the eastern end of the A127, but they can only hope to tinker with the problem.

What the A127 needs is an ambitious road-widening programme, similar to that which has taken place on the M25.

Any such improvement is a national rather than a local responsibility. Recent governments have been relentless in the pressure they put on local authorities to build more homes in Essex.

They have been a lot more reticent when it comes to releasing money for roadbuilding.

But the A127 needs improvement before, not after, any spate of mass housebuilding – or nobody will be able to get to or from these new homes.