AN 18-month trial will be launched at the notorious Kent Elms junction on the A127 in a bid to crack down on crashes and near misses as drivers head into Southend

Major changes to the junction will be trialled in coming months and the three-lane merge system will be adapted so the left-hand becomes “left-turn” only. 

Councillors agreed to move forward with the plans at a meeting last week and on Wednesday night councillors in the traffic regulations working party voted unanimously to support an 18-month trial. 

If successful, the plan will be introduced permanently. 

Kevin Buck, Conservative councillor responsible for highways, declared the decision “a victory for drivers”.

He said: “We would like it to be in place before the start of the summer season.

“The vast majority of accidents on the carriageway take place on that junction. There’s a certain perception that the merge section just feels dangerous to drive through. We can take away that bun fight to get in the lane.

“I think it’s a moral victory for the local residents and councillors for it to finally be sorted.”


Daniel Cowan, Labour councillor for St Laurence, says the change is “a long time coming”.

He said: “It is temporary, but I hope it does improve the junction and we can look at making this permanent in future.

“It is a very busy junction with no easy or quick wins, but this is a start at improving it.

“The junction catches people who are unfamiliar with it, and it also causes problems with people who have bad driving habits.

“There’s not a lot of space to merge so people end up taking chances, which is why there are so many near misses.”

The A127 Kent Elms junction was widened to create an additional lane on both sides of the dual carriageway in 2017, but residents and councillors fear the situation has become worse since. 

Maxine Sadza, Labour councillor for Milton, welcomed the experimental change.

She said: “There have been near misses on the junction, as it’s quite difficult. I’m hoping these changes will make it safer.”