Levelling Up Fund: Southend roads could benefit from £14m funding for A127

Pinch points on Southend’s roads will become a thing of the past if council bosses secure £14million funding to widen the A127 and improve major junctions around the city.

Councillors are putting forward the case for the cash as the second part of their case for Government Levelling Up funding.

The bid is for highways improvements at Harp House roundabout, A127 Victoria Avenue junctions with East Street and West Street and with Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase, and A127 Progress Road and Bellhouse Road.

If approved, the funding would see a mixture of works to improve traffic flow including widened roads and extended right turn lanes to accommodate more vehicles.

Southend Council failed to secure Levelling Up funding in the first round of bids last year, but is hopeful changes made on the recommendation of the Department for Transport will lead to success a second time around.

Stephen Wakefield, Independent councillor for Shoebury, said: “It will definitely help traffic flow especially down the A127 for people and commuters getting out of town.

“It should speed up people travelling by car and that will help with the environment so that cars aren’t just sat around in a traffic jam I hope this is refined so that we can have a good chance of receiving this money so we can improve out traffic flow across the town.”

If successful, the funding would be spent over three financial years, with the main work completed by March 2025.

The council will match this with £1.4m which will require a re-prioritisation of other schemes in the council’s capital programme if the bid is successful.

A127 Progress Road

Paul Collins, cabinet member for asset management and inward investment, said: “Over the years the council has also been successful in securing external funding for projects that have increased the A127’s capacity and improved traffic flow at key junctions and this proposed bid would see further improvements at key pinch points in Southend’s road network, which would make our city a more enticing place for visitors and potential businesses.”

The proposed improvements include the A127 with an extra lane westbound from around Bellhouse Lane/Road to just beyond Progress Road.

There will be the addition of toucan crossings promoting walking and cycling along the route.

Further A127 improvements include a right turn into Fairfax Drive from Victoria Avenue and the right turn lane into West Street will be extended.

At Victoria Avenue northbound, the bus stop will be lovedd into a layby and there will be a new set of signals.

This will prevent buses causing congestion by stopping on the main carriageway.

Improvements to Harp House Roundabout will include amendments to the Warners Bridge to the Manners Way arm of the roundabout and some general lane improvements to the roundabout.

It is hoped this will improve accessibility to Southend Airport and retail park and include improved pedestrian crossing points.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter