HIGHWAY bosses have been forced to admit repairs to stop Pitsea flyover leaking failed because they were following the wrong plans.

Essex County Council has been accused of a cover-up after being forced to reveal the real reason for the botched job.

The admission comes nearly a year after the Echo exposed water was still seeping through the structure, despite two multi-million pound repairs to the crossing.

The authority has finally conceded the blunder, which caused months more misery to motorists, in response to questions from Keith Bobbin, Labour county councillor for Pitsea.

Highways chiefs admitted planning the repairs using an old blueprint for the crossing which differed to how it was eventually built in the early 1970s.

This meant contractors worked on the wrong parts of the bridge and left leaks in other areas. The estimated cost of work to the flyover has now soared to £14.5million.

The response from councillor Norman Hume, cabinet member for highways, said: "Before phase one, the consensus was we had inherited detailed drawings of the flyover from Basildon Development Corporation.

"Therefore the refurbishment work was designed using these existing drawings.

"During phase one it became apparent the existing drawings were for the original design and not as built and also the structure was not constructed as shown on the drawings."

Mr Hume claimed the cost of correction works, about £200,000, has been less than 2 per cent of the work.

The revelation came to light towards the end of the first stage of repairs in early 2005, but it has only now been admitted.

Mr Bobbin said: "We are looking at a total cock-up which has hit taxpayers badly.

"It's a cover-up, they should have come clean as soon as they knew they were using the wrong plans and not tried to blame it on the age of the flyover. It was only because of my question this came to light."

He added: "I was even told there is no guarantee of success with the latest work.

"Last time I was at the flyover it was still leaking."