Daily gridlock at Southend junction

Traffic gridlock is being caused on a daily basis by poor timing on traffic lights at a major junction in Southend, a councillor has claimed.

Daniel Cowan, leader of Southend Council’s Labour group, called for the phasing of traffic lights at Kent Elms corner to be investigated by the Conservative administration after getting stuck in a jam this week.

It is one of the most used junctions in the city, with countless cars passing through on a daily basis.

Cllr Cowan said: “I have called on the portfolio holder for highways to take action on the daily issues at Kent Elms.

“For as long as I’ve been an elected member, I have raised the multiple issues present at Kent Elms junction.

“One issue that remains unresolved, that I continue to press on, is the problem around the north-south traffic from Rayleigh Road and Bridgwater Drive. Problems here are largely caused by the phasing of the lights.”

Multiple improvement projects have been carried out at Kent Elms in recent years, but Cllr Cowan said the problem remains.

He added: “On Wednesday morning there was chaos caused by drivers attempting to turn right, Southend-bound, from Bridgwater Drive.

“This is often impossible for more than two vehicles as they are restricted by the southbound traffic from Rayleigh Road, so we ended up with the London-bound traffic being completely blocked, which will have caused knock-on effects all along the A127 and put further pressure on Cuckoo Corner which already has its own issues.

“What is clear is that traffic is not flowing through the junction as modelled and changes are necessary if we are to facilitate smooth transitions through all points of this junction.”

The £5 million scheme saw the junction widened from two lanes to three on both sides of the dual carriageway with the three lanes merging to two beyond the junctions in 2018.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter