A £5MILLION upgrade to ease traffic congestion at a key A127 junction is set to get under way in September.

Southend Council has named Eurovia Infrastructure to drive forward with the jam-busting plan for the Bell junction.

Lane closures will be in place throughout the work which starts on September 7, the council has warned.

The works involved includes:

-A new dedicated left-turn lane into Rochford Road

-Extending the right-turn lane into Hobleythick Lane

-Banning the right-turn into Rochford Road, to free up more “green light” time for motorists

-Removing the footbridge, which does not comply with disability discrimination legislation because of the stepped ramps. This will create room for the new dedicated lane into Rochford Road and new pedestrian island in Hobleythick Lane

-Better “pedestrian facilities” in Rochford Road by providing a traffic-signal pedestrian crossing

-A new pedestrian island in Hobleythick Lane

-Re-landscaped green space

The move follows the completion of diversionary work by UK Power Networks (UKPN) and Cadent Gas earlier this year, with Cadent Gas finishing six weeks ahead of schedule.

UKPN will finalise their works from June 8 for about four weeks.

Ron Woodley, Southend Council’s deputy leader, said: “I am pleased to see that a start date has been agreed for the main improvement works at the Bell junction.

“The improvements, once completed, will greatly improve traffic flow in and out of the town at one of the key pinch-points of the A127.

“Following the successful collaborative working patterns of UK Power Networks and Cadent, we are in a good position to complete construction in summer 2021.

“While we would have all liked to have got started a bit earlier, the coronavirus pandemic has of course had an impact on the UK Power Networks works, and when Eurovia can start.”

Mr Woodley said work was due to start in April but Eurovia suspended construction works due to Covid-19.

He added: “The Department for Transport is aware of the delay and has subsequently provided South East Local Enterprise Partnership with the full funding for the project.”