The main improvement works for The Bell junction project are set to begin in early September.
The contract for the works has been awarded to Eurovia Infrastructure Ltd following a competitive tender process, and Eurovia have now set out their plans to start on the main improvement works from week commencing 7 September.
Utility diversionary works were carried out earlier this year collaboratively between UK Power Network (UKPN) and Cadent Gas. Cadent Gas works were completed six weeks ahead of schedule, however UKPN have to complete their cable jointing works, which they propose to continue from 8 June, with the works lasting for approximately four weeks.
The £5m junction upgrade project, which is largely funded from the Government’s Local Growth Fund (£4.3m), will see a number of changes to the layout of the junction to improve traffic flow on the A127.
The works involved in the project includes:
- A new dedicated left-turn lane onto Rochford Road;
- Extending the right-turn lane onto Hobleythick Lane;
- Better pedestrian facilities on Rochford Road by providing a traffic-signal pedestrian crossing;
- Better pedestrian facilities on Hobleythick Lane by providing a new pedestrian island;
- Re-landscaped improved green space;
- Banning the right-turn onto Rochford Road, in order to free up more “green light” time for motorists around the junction, and improved pedestrian facilities;
- Removing the footbridge, which does not comply with disability discrimination legislation because of the stepped ramps and allows room for the new dedicated lane onto Rochford Road and new pedestrian island on Hobleythick Lane.
Lane closures will be in place throughout the works and further announcements around these closures will be shared closer to the start date.
Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said: “I am pleased to see that a start date has been agreed for the main improvement works at The Bell junction. The improvements, once completed, will greatly improve traffic flow in and out of the town at one of the key pinch points of the A127.
“Following the successful collaborative working patterns of UKPN and Cadent, we are in a good position to complete construction in Summer 2021. Whilst we would have all liked to have got started a bit earlier, the Coronavirus pandemic has of course had an impact on the UKPN works, and when Eurovia can start.
“Works were programmed to start in April 2020 but Eurovia suspended their construction works due to Covid-19. DfT are aware of the delay and have subsequently provided SELEP with the full funding for The Bell project.
“We will continue to inform residents and local businesses of the works and any lane closures as and when appropriate to do so.”