A TASK force is being launched to spearhead plans for a “holy grail” third access route for Canvey after decades of campaigning.

For years, residents have battled with the headache of traffic issues getting on and off Canvey.

As it stands, there are only two access roads available, which join at Waterside Farm roundabout.

The layout means all traffic has to go through the roundabout, leading to heavy delays and “gridlock”.

Now, Castle Point Council leader Andrew Sheldon has revealed a task force will be created to look specifically at building a new bridge and road.

In a meeting, he said: “This is something that has been talked about, it’s been the political holy grail of Castle Point ever since its inception.

“We all know that getting around Castle Point when there are snarl ups it is a nightmare.

“And it has been talked about for ages that there is simply a need to look at access and improving access to Canvey.

“What I’m proposing is this administration will be bringing forward a task force to bring together those highways agencies and those interested parties, those community groups, that really do want to see this done, to get together and work out a road map to achieving improved access onto Canvey.”

Residents have also raised concerns that further housing development would only exacerbate this situation, if a third access is not implemented.

Canvey is also prone to flood risk and with two top tier COMAH sites – Calor Gas and the Oikos Storage Terminal – on the island, residents have highlighted major concerns that current access would not be adequate if there was a major emergency.

Shirley Whatley, 83, Limburg Road, said: “It’s so important that we get a third road.

“Traffic is a nightmare anyway, especially if there’s a crash on the A130.

“It can get to standstill, and it’s not feasible at the moment.”

Former councillor Ray Howard MBE, has also backed the move.

The 79-year-old, said: “This would significantly help us out, and I back them to do it.

“It could go across to Thurrock or to Pitsea at the flyover. It’s what Canvey needs.

“The island get can gridlocked and can get to complete standstill.

“At the moment, you’re giving 40,000 people only two access points to get off.”