MOTORISTS using the A127 face longer journeys because of the looming Dale Farm evictions.

From Friday, August 26, a temporary 50mph speed limit will cover a two-mile stretch of the busy dual carriageway.

The restriction will affect the Southend-bound carriageway, from the Noak Bridge turn-off to the A132 Wickford exit.

The normal 70mph limit will be reduced to 50mph for four weeks – although this could change, depending on how the evictions go.

The measure is being introduced by highways chiefs concerned about slow-moving caravans and trucks joining the road when 90 families are evicted from the illegal travellers’ site at Crays Hill.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The speed limit is due to the imminent expiry of the 28-day notice served on residents of the Dale Farm camp.

“It is being implemented, in the interests of safety, due to concerns that there may be increased vehicle movements from the site, particularly slow-moving towing vehicles joining the A127.’’ The spokesman added: “This is likely to last until the clearance operation is completed.

“It is not possible to say with certainty at this stage how long that will take.

“But it is heavily dependent on the willingness of the Dale Farm residents to comply peacefully with the terms of the notice to leave the site by midnight on August 31.

“We will work with Basildon Council to do all we can to keep disruption to roads and highways to a minimum and would ask road users have patience during this time.”

The county council has not said whether there will be speed cameras or police patrols to enforce the limit.

The Echo revealed on Thursday how a swathe of road closures will be introduced next week in areas surrounding the Dale Farm camp.

County council chiefs have also revealed how teachers working at Crays Hill Primary School – mostly attended by Dale Farm children – will spend their time marking and lesson planning if no pupils attend during the eviction period.