TRAFFIC congestion has been eased, thanks to electronic signs diverting motorists away from Southend seafront during the summer.

Southend Council has paid for extra electronic signs on roads into the town centre.

The boards let daytrippers know the capacity of the seafront car parks so they can use other facilities, to stop the seafront from descending into heavy congestion.

Independent Martin Terry, councillor responsible for transport, said: “Southend is open for business, so anything we can do to improve local business we will try.

“We are trying to optimise the capacity we have because we have thousands of people coming into the town during hot days which is great, but it causes a gridlock scenario.

“We want to manipulate the traffic because we’ve seen the seafront car parks packed, but the other ones in the town empty – and it seems to have worked so far.”

Mr Terry added he regularly sees traffic backed up around the Kursaal and Eastern Esplanade during busy summer periods.

The extra signs tell motorists which locations are full and which car parks have spaces.

Victoria Avenue and several locations along the A127 are some of the sites that have benefitted from the extra hardware.

In total, there are now 21 in the town centre.

Paul Thompson, chairman of the seafront traders’ association, has long called for action.

He said: “At the moment it seems to be working and it is good of the new coalition to have listened to us traders.

“We have pushed this to get a better use out of our town centre car parks, and it has really helped ease congestion on the seafront too.”

Mr Terry added that a new car park, to be built in Queensway, next to the Quantock tower block, is shaping up.

He said the new car park should be open in the coming months