Work on the A127 Bell junction hit delays after holes were found beneath the road - adding £200,000 to the cost of the work.

A slip road into Rochford Road at the junction in Westcliff was due to be completed in February but has only been opened intermittently since March 22.

Despite the setback, the council says it is still on target to finish the work to speed up traffic through the busy junction by the summer.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of Southend Council said: “It is going reasonably well. The only hold-up we’ve had is that the road was built on concrete slabs and over the years you get voids underneath. 

“They had to be filled costing an extra £200,000 but generally the highways team are happy.”

The council vowed to avoid the extensive delays caused by unforeseen underground problems during the controversial Kent Elms junction widening scheme.

Surveys to ascertain where underground pipes and cables were located were carried out before the work began to avoid problems.

Mr Woodley added: “We did do surveys but when you are doing this kind of work you always find other things.

"We found this all along the A127 and in Victoria Avenue.”

Neil Hoskins, head of civil engineering at the council, said the Bell project has progressed well and despite the recent bad weather is still on course to be completed this summer. 

He said: “The main construction of the slip road into Rochford Road has been completed and is open for vehicles to use.

"However, as work is still taking place across the site, the slip road will sometimes be inaccessible due to this work taking place. If the slip road is not open for traffic, relevant diversion routes will be in place.”

Mr Hoskins added: “Local residents and businesses have been kept informed on the works throughout the project through Eurovia’s public liaison officer, along with additional council communications. 

“Further announcements will be made in due course regarding the completion of the project, which will help to increase traffic flow in and out of the town and also towards the airport and airport business park.”