DELAYS to a long-awaited £25million overhaul of an “outdated” junction have been branded “a joke” by councillors as they demand work starts urgently. 

Essex County Council is still searching for a contractor to carry out a significant upgrade at the Fairglen Interchange, where the A127 and A130 connect, despite plans being approved back in 2019. 

Last September, Essex County Council told the Echo a contractor would be appointed “in the new year” with work beginning in the “spring or summer”. 

However, the council has now admitted there is no “specific” timetable in place. 

The project should see a one-way link road allow drivers to skip several miles of the A130 and join the A127 before travelling to Southend without using the Rayleigh Spur roundabout. 

It is planned to increase capacity and ease traffic at the busy junction.

However, it has been plagued by delays due to the pandemic and compulsory purchase orders.

Compulsory purchase orders which saw County Hall acquire thousands of square metres of land were completed last summer. 

Kerry Smith, Basildon and Essex County councillor, said: “It’s an absolute joke.

Echo: How it is planned to look - the Fairglen Interchange.How it is planned to look - the Fairglen Interchange. (Image: Essex County Council)

“The works need to start as soon as possible. The junction is beyond its sell-by date. It’s a lot of expensive work for a relatively small junction, but it would make a huge improvement. The council needs to get a wiggle on with it.”

Once complete, there will be a new dedicated left-turn lane from the A1245 to the A127 Southend-bound, bypassing the roundabout with a dedicated slip lane and keeping the existing slip road. 

A slip lane for Basildon-bound traffic leaving the A127 to enter the roundabout will be expanded from two lanes to three.

There will also be an additional southbound-lane from the Fairglen Interchange to Rayleigh Spur roundabout.

Echo: Disappointed - Southend's Deputy Mayor, Ron Woodley.Disappointed - Southend's Deputy Mayor, Ron Woodley. (Image: NQ)

Southend councillor Ron Woodley says he is “disappointed” by the lack of progress.

He said: “It’s just ridiculous. It’s a nightmare.

It’s been five years. You can’t tell me they’re still looking for a contractor. I’m disappointed. They should have got it done much earlier.”

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “We are keen to progress this scheme as soon as possible.

"However, as with other schemes of this size and nature, the process before construction starts can take time. We therefore look forward to appointing a contractor in 2024 with a specific timetable due to be confirmed.

“Residents are encouraged to keep up to date at”