A four week consultation is set to take place on plans to upgrade the Kent Elms junction in Southend to better manage current and future traffic levels.
The council s cabinet will discuss initial options for the main junction improvements, along with a preferred option that if approved will be designed in more detail for consultation from Monday 21st March.
Options for a replacement bridge also form part of the councils preferred option, with the current footbridge set to be demolished to allow new lanes to be created. Works are planned to start in Summer 2016, with the main construction completed by March 2017.
The preferred option would provide three lanes heading eastbound on the A127 and a right hand lane providing improved capacity through the junction. An additional lane heading westbound would also provide greater capacity, with a new footbridge to replace the current one. Small amounts of land will need to be purchased and utility diversions required to enable this option to go ahead, and negotiations with the relevant partners is already underway.
The report follows recent work to build a new Toucan crossing which was completed in December and gives wheelchair-users and those with buggies or mobility scooters an alternative to the stepped footbridge to get to the library and health centre.
Cllr Martin Terry, Executive councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport, says: Our plans for Kent Elms are just one part of a package of on-going junction improvements along the A127 designed to keep traffic flowing, improve crossings and keep the economy growing.
Having finished the improvements to the Tesco roundabout, we can now concentrate on the Kent Elms junction which will help to increase capacity ahead of the creation of around 7,000 new jobs expected to be created by the new airport business park in the near future.
Whilst technically there is no requirement to provide a new footbridge and there are many similar junctions that operate without one, we have listened to feedback from local schools, businesses and local residents and feel that it is appropriate to include plans for a new footbridge in our preferred option for consultation.
The council has a track record of delivering major infrastructure improvements and I am confident we will do the same at Kent Elms, before we turn our attention to The Bell junction.
The majority of the funding (£4.3m) is set to come from Department for Transport s Local Growth Fund, with final approval of the business case expected in June 2016.
The A127 in Southend in numbers
– Progress Road to Kent Elms 40,700 vehicles a day (45,200 a day by 2036)
– Kent Elms to Tesco roundabout 40,100 vehicles a day (49,700 a day by 2036)
– Tesco roundabout to the Bell 40,200 vehicles a day (55,700 by 2036)
– The Bell to Cuckoo Corner 32,700 vehicles a day (49,700 by 2036)