DRIVERS fear a congestion hit Basildon road will turn into chaos for eight months when it is dug up in a £3.4million project to ease traffic flow.
Work will start on the long awaited plan to create an extra lane northbound on Nethermayne between Basildon Hospital and the Roundacre Roundabout in July and finish in March 2015.
The road, used by about 25,000 vehicles a day, is regarded as one of the worst in the borough, with traffic regularly backed up during peak times.
Essex County Council has stressed the road will remain open during the works with restrictions, but drivers are worried about the impact.
Driving instructor Tariq Musaji said: “It is crazy not to have a diversion in place because that road gets so busy.
“It will be completely chaotic for more than six months in Nethermayne.”
Traffic lights will also be installed at the Basildon Hospital roundabout, to stop traffic coming from the A13, to let vehicles come out of the hospital’s site.
Traffic lights on Nethermayne will also be placed further up on the road between the hospital and Roundacre, next to a new entrance to the Woodlands School.
But drivers complain these measures do not go far enough.
Mr Musaji added: “Having an extra lane is not the best idea because drivers will just use the right hand lane and clog it up.
“The hospital roundabout is big enough to have traffic lights at every junction.”
The Government is committing £2.3million to the project, with County Council adding £1.1million.
Campaigners have also said a footbridge over the road, while removing the traffic lights, is a better solution.
A County Hall spokesman said: “The works have been planned to ensure the carriageway will remain open.
“The traffic management arrangements are being discussed with the hospital and emergency services.
“This is the most cost effective solution.
“A footbridge would not solve the congestion concerns or provide the same level of reliability of the route that includes the access to the hospital.”
Traffic lights on their way for hospital roundabout
A £280,000 set of traffic lights will be installed at the Basildon Hospital roundabout next month to help traffic exit the site.
At the moment, there is nothing delaying vehicles coming north to Nethermayne from the A13, meaning traffic is regularly backed up trying to get out of the hospital. Temporary lights were trialled last autumn and they will be installed in May for £280,000 – all paid for by the hospital trust.
The lights will be monitored by County Hall at peak times.
A hospital spokesman said: “Visitors who drive to Basildon Hospital will be aware it can take some time to exit the site at certain times of the day.
“The trust discussed with the local and county councils measures that could be taken to help alleviate this.
“In October 2013 a traffic light scheme was trialled between 4pm and 6pm, where traffic approaching from the A13 on Nethermayne was held to allow cars to exit from the hospital site.
“This had a positive impact, so we obtained planning approval from Essex County Council to install the lights permanently.”