The works will take place from October 27 and are scheduled until the end of March, but the authority admits it is pushing through the improvements now in anticipation of a huge business park coming into the area.
Rochford and Southend councils estimate the planned business park, off Cherry Orchard Way and accessed via Nestuda Way – a junction off the roundabout – will bring 7,380 new jobs to the area over the next 15 years.
The authority admits that while large parts of the A127 are a problem, a predicted increase of traffic because of the business park, set to go ahead within the next three years, is the catalyst for doing the works now.
Paul Mathieson, who is in charge of major projects at Southend Council, said: “A key part of this is opening up the airport business park, which will send out a clear message that Southend is open for business and it sends out a message to potential investors into the town.”
As part of the works, the St Laurence roundabout, which leads off from Nestuda Way, will be improved.
The slip road heading north towards Cherry Orchard Way will be removed, to “simplify” it for drivers, according to the authority, while another lane will be added to the A127 roundabout junction for motorists coming down past Tesco.
Independent Martin Terry, who is responsible for transport at Southend Council, said: “Developing the area round the airport is pivotal in our plans to create valuable jobs and boost the local economy.
“However, for these developments to go ahead, we first need to have the highways infrastructure in place to handle any increase in traffic. It’s all about keeping the economy going and the traffic flowing.”
The authority also cites a projected increase in 1,785 new homes in the borough as another reason for the revamp, which will see traffic lights installed on all junctions of the roundabout, as well as four extra lanes.
The Government has stumped up £3.3million for the scheme.
Mr Mathieson added: “The airport was a catalyst for our bid. The Government’s policies are favouring regional airports bearing in mind the pressure on runways.”
Timetable for the works:
OCTOBER: Site clearance. Contractors set up their site and put out machinery. Work starts on October 27
NOVEMBER: Suspension of weekend lane closures to protect Christmas trade
DECEMBER: Work halted over Christmas
JANUARY: Weekend lane closures to resume from second week
MARCH: The main construction work is set to be completed
APRIL: Traffic light testing and tweaking done to cope with the traffic-flow. Contractors leave.