Over the coming weeks utilities and council contractors will be seen surveying pipes, cables and drains under the Kent Elms junction of the A127, ahead of construction later in the year.
Communities north and south of this part of the A127 are only currently connected by a stepped footbridge, meaning that pushchair-users and people with mobility problems struggle to safely cross.
This is particularly difficult for those south of the A127 who wish to use the Kent Elms Medical Centre or library to the North.
Cllr Graham Longley, Deputy Leader of Southend Council, said: “I’m delighted that work is now starting on this much-needed surface-level pedestrian crossing.
“For too long now, the A127 has acted as a physical barrier for disabled people and parents of young children. The stepped bridge does not comply with current disability discrimination laws, it is considered by many as an eyesore and it currently prevents this junction of the A127 from being widened in the future.
“This work will at last connect Eastwood and Blenhiem communities and means people will be able to safely cross a busy highway to access vital services.
“As with any highways project, some disruption to motorists and neighbours is inevitable. However, we aim to keep this to a minimum by considering the timing of any road works and the techniques used.”
Work will start in earnest in September on installing the new crossing and should complete in December. Temporary lane closures will be put in place to facilitate the surveys and later construction activity and motorists will be able to find out more by going to www.bettersouthend.com
Further consultation will soon start with local businesses, residents and the local community on proposals to upgrade the Kent Elms junction to support the predicted growth associated with London Southend Airport and the Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) proposals developed by Southend, Rochford and Essex County Council.