ANOTHER busy stretch of road in Southend is to undergo major improvement works under council plans to invest £5million into upgrading the Bell junction.

It will be the latest in a series of improvement works along the A127 as Southend Council attempts to ensure the road network can manage the increasing volume of traffic caused by growth around the airport and the neighbouring Airport Business Park development.

The council has drawn up three options for new highway layouts and will be asking residents to speak to the project team and give their feedback on each option when the plans are revealed at a public consultation on July 17.

Councillor Andrew Moring, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “The Bell junction is a vital section of the road system in and around Southend, with approximately 43,000 vehicles passing through it between 7am and 7pm each day.

“It is clear that we need to manage traffic better into and out of the town in order to accommodate the continued growth of London Southend Airport and The Airport Business Park as well as to improve air quality locally.”

The volume of traffic that travels in and out of Southend along the A127 regularly results in severe congestion and has made the stretch of road between the Bell and Cuckoo corner junctions a pollution hotspot, with nitrogen dioxide levels exceeding government guidelines.

The council has budgeted around £5million for the work, with £4.3million being sought from the Local Growth Fund, which was set up by the government to fund projects that support economic growth.

The remaining £720,000 will come from the council’s budget.

Consultations will be getting underway as drivers continue to face disruptions at the nearby Kent Elms junction, where work to widen the junction has been delayed for more than a year.

Councillor Mark Flewitt of the St Laurence Ward said that it is vital the plans work for the residents.

"As a ward councillor for the area I want to wait and see what residents’ views are because we need to make sure that this works for them. They live near a very busy junction and the main thrust of this is to get rid of poor air quality and not to cause residents or businesses anymore delays than we need to,” he said.

“To do this piece of work which is very intricate, we must also make sure we learn lessons from Kent Elms where almost every utility company let us down.”

The first consultation takes place July 17 at Prince Avenue Academy, Hornby Avenue from 3pm until 8pm, followed by the second consultation on July 18 at Earls Hall Primary School, Carlton Avenue, from 3pm until 8pm.

There will also be an online consultation which launches on July 16 and runs until September 9. It will be available at