A SERIES of bottleneck junctions on the A127 could be given a £15million overhaul after council chiefs gave the project the thumbs-up.

Members of Southend Council’s ruling Tory cabinet have rubber-stamped a bid for Government cash to rework the Kent Elms, Bell and Tesco junctions – a rush-hour headache for pedestrians and motorists.

The improvements, which could get under way within three years, are seen as a key part of plans to create thousands of new jobs by encouraging private businesses to move to land around Southend Airport.

John Lamb, deputy council leader, said: “We have had a long-standing commitment as a council to making these improvements.

“I really do look forward to these coming forward as soon as possible, because it will make a real difference to this town.”

Campaigns to improve the congested Kent Elms and Bell junctions have been organised repeatedly over the past decade.

Council chiefs have turned their attention to the trouble spots after the completion of the £18million Better Southend projects at Victoria Gateway, Cuckoo Corner and Progress Road.

After running predictions of the amount of traffic which will be on the town’s roads by 2021, they decided improvements at the Tesco roundabout would also be required.

They aim to submit a bid to the region’s Local Transport Body, an alliance of Local Enterprise Partnerships, when it is established in 2015.

The project has already been picked out as a priority by the Local Enterprise Partnership for the area.

Chiefs estimate £5million will be required for each scheme and, if the funding bids go smoothly, work could start in 2015.

Tony Cox, the Tory councillor responsible for transport, said: “We said we would still pursue these improvements when we finished the Better Southend scheme, and I am pleased to say that is still the case.

“We can get ourselves ahead of the game so that, when Government funding does become available, we are well placed to take advantage.”