THE long-running widening of the A13 has now been completed and new lanes opened to traffic.

New lanes on both sides of the road opened between the A128 (Orsett Cock) and A1014 (Stanford-le-Hope) yesterday.

It means there are now three lanes on both carriageways between Stanford-le-Hope and the M25.

Experts have installed a special low-noise road surface to minimise the noise from road.

Noise-reducing fences – known as environmental barriers – have also been installed to give more protection for nearby residents.

Highway drainage, safety barriers and signs also have been improved.

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A 50mph speed limit will remain in place between Stanford-le-Hope and Orsett Cock due to ongoing electrical work.

Contractors are still installing new street lights on the stretch of road.

It is hoped they will finish installing the lights in July and the national speed limit of 70mph will then be enforced.

The widening scheme means there is a new dedicated lane on the A13 westbound entry slip road at the Stanford-le-Hope junction so traffic can merge with the A13 westbound carriageway more easily.

Four bridges have been knocked down and replaced as part of the work.

They include:

• Horndon Bridge – a bridleway which links the village of Horndon on the Hill with Stanford-le-Hope

• Saffron Gardens Bridge – a farm access route

• Orsett Cock roundabout bridges – two bridges that support the roundabout

Work is also continuing on new traffic lights at the Orsett Cock roundabout.

This means lane restrictions will continue.

A spokesman for the Thurrock Council said: “In addition to the work on traffic lights and street lights, some other works are still ongoing.

“These will have minimal impact on road users and residents.

“When using the new road and roundabout, you should take extra care to get familiar with changes to the road, speed limits, signage and lane markings.”