Contractors working on a £1.3m footbridge across the A127 at Kent Elms are installing huge foundations in a bid to complete the project.

Work to install the footbridge has already seen huge delays following the discovery of a major water main where the foundations were set to be dug.

The main was at a different location to what utility drawings and penetrating radar showed.

Work on the bridge was scheduled to finish in January.

The work is part of a major road-widening scheme at the junction completed in 2018, which also suffered from repeated delays as contractors struggled with underground pipes and cables.

While the work goes on, a slip road into Rayleigh Road is cordoned off to traffic.

The improvements are aimed at better management of traffic flows to support the continued growth of Southend Airport and Airport Business Park Southend. But the extensive delays have tested motorist’s patience.

Southend Council has revealed the extent of the work being undertaken to ensure the footbridge is sound when it finally put in place.

Large, steel-lined holes are being excavated in the cramped space outside Kent Elms health centre.

James Courtenay, deputy leader of the council said: “Kent Elms continues to be frustrating for residents and drivers alike, but we need to ensure the foot bridge is done properly, safely and will stand the test of time .

“It will be well used for people going to the library and doctors for many years.

“It is necessary to put down several foundations, each of which needs steel reinforcement, before the concrete is poured in and allowed to set.

“Once each one has been done the team moves on to the next one. We are trying to minimise disruption to the area, and not having lane closures during peak hours and weekends. This is the right approach to take, but does mean that the job takes longer than if a lane was closed off 24/7.”

The old footbridge was removed in November 2016.

The new bridge is being assembled offsite and constructed in modules, minimising the number and duration of any road closures needed when it is finally put in place.

The council has provided a school crossing patrol for the nearby Eastwood Academy since then.