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£3.5m seafront cliffs repair work to start
RUMBLING trucks, road closures and restricted parking will hit Southend’s seafront this autumn as £3.5million cliff slip repairs get under way.
Southend Council will be forced to shut one carriageway of Western Esplanade and direct lorries full of earth past homes in Clifftown Parade during a hectic three-month operation.
The plans are part of proposals to pave the way for a new £40million museum on the seafront, as well as restoring the cliff gardens which have been off limits to the public since 2002.
But residents and tourists will have to put up with an autumn of disruption before they can start to enjoy the freshly-landscaped area.
Derek Jarvis , the Tory councillor responsible for the project, said: “What we want to do is open the gardens for the public as soon as possible.
“This is part of a long-term project for the area, on which we are working very hard.”
The council secured planning permission to stabilise the cliffs, and eventually sink the 20,000sq ft museum complex into them, at a crunch meeting last month. The process will involve placing steel supports into the crumbling soil to stop a repeat of the 2002 landslide, which blocked Western Esplanade.
But several so-called “muck trucks” will also be needed to move the unwanted earth to a temporary storage area, where it will be kept until tentative plans to build new flood defence across Shoebury Common have been finalised.
For the first seven weeks after work starts next month, the vehicles will use a route running eastwards along quiet Clifftown Parade and then away along Devereux Road.
From the start of October, the trucks will begin in Clifftown Parade, head down through the gardens and then along Western Esplanade.
The second route will mean the closure of the eastbound carriageway of Western Esplanade for three weeks, avoiding the schools holidays which start on October 29.
An extra lane will be squeezed into the westbound carriageway to allow traffic to continue to travel in both directions.
The closure will also result in the temporary loss of 19 parking spaces in Western Esplanade.
However, Mr Jarvis said the measures were necessary to protect the public.