The scheme supports Southend and Rochford councils’ ambitions to create 7,380 new jobs in the area around London Southend Airport over the next 15 years.
In 2014 the Council secured a £3.3m grant from the Department for Transport (DfT)’s Local Pinch Point Fund towards this work with the remainder of the project cost (£1.4m) being met by Southend Council’s own capital budget.
The completed improvements include:
- Extra lanes on the roundabout and its approaches
- The introduction of intelligent traffic-light controls at the roundabout – like those installed at Cuckoo Corner - which will respond to traffic levels at the junction and manage traffic accordingly. New attractive landscaping, including at least 10 more trees and comprehensive planting
- New, safer signalled crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists
- A reconfigured roundabout at the junction of Nestuda Way and St Laurence Way to simplify the northbound approach and provide access to the future development site
The reconfigured junction will be now be able to handle more traffic and, as an added benefit, will make it easier for vehicles to exit from the Tesco side of the roundabout (Thanet Grange). The newly installed traffic lights will start operation on Sunday 29th March, subject to weather conditions.
Over the next few weeks, minor landscaping, site clearance and tidying works will be completed, and the traffic light signalling will be tested and tweaked to ensure optimum traffic flow.
Martin Terry, Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport praised all involved in the project and thanked motorists for their patience during the works.
He said: “I am delighted that this vital project will be completed on time and on budget. These improvements are central to us being able to deliver our aspirations for the Airport Business Park which will create valuable jobs and boost the local economy.
“We now have the highways infrastructure in place to handle any increase in traffic. It’s all about keeping the economy going and the traffic flowing and along with the upgrades to the junctions at Progress Road and Cuckoo Corner already made, motorists should notice a real difference.
“But we are not stopping there, and over the next two year will be carrying out further investment at the Kent Elms and the Rochford Road/The Bell junctions that will further reduce congestion and waiting times in the Borough.
“I would like to thank motorists and local residents and businesses for their cooperation and patience whilst we have been carrying out the works, and to Council staff and contractors who have ensured the smooth delivery. I believe the contractors have been a good neighbour and have worked hard to keep everyone informed of developments and any issues. We have also ensured throughout the project that we have avoided working during what are typically the periods of heaviest traffic and have kept night work to a minimum.
“We’ve carried out the project outside of the tourist season and we didn’t close lanes at weekends in the run-up to Christmas, so as not to deter Christmas shoppers.
“We’ve also used construction techniques that reduce disruption, such as “trenchless ducting”. This technique allows us to install underground cable ducts, such as those used for traffic signals, without having to dig trenches in the road.”
Patience called for during traffic light tweaking
The Council are asking for a little more patience from motorists as the traffic lights are optimised at the newly improved junction. The lights will start operating on Sunday 29th March, subject to weather conditions.
Cllr Martin Terry explains: “Over the next few weeks work will continue to optimise the timing of the new traffic lights at the roundabout so that we achieve the best possible result in terms of traffic flows.
“During that short period the improvements to journey times may not be immediately apparent, so I would ask motorists to bear with us whilst the light timings are gradually being tweaked until they are operating at their best.”