Junction improvements could form first part of economy-boosting plan to upgrade A127
A series of junction improvements are being investigated to enhance the A127 and boost the local economy, not just in Basildon Borough but the whole region, as part of Essex Conservatives aspirations for further major upgrades in the future.
The Arterial, which runs through Basildon and forms the central corridor through the south of Essex, proves a key strategic link between London and Southend and connects large centres of population and industry with the capital and Southend Airport. More than 80,000 vehicles a day use the A127 – making it the busiest non-trunk road in the County of Essex (busier than parts of the M11). As many of us know all too well, the dual carriageway is close to capacity at peak times, resulting in regular congestion and delays, which have a negative impact on the economy and road safety in Basildon.
"While we are working hard to examine potential shorter-term improvements to the A127, we believe far greater upgrades are desperately needed and we are campaigning for this key strategic route to be recognised and for it to be re-adopted as a trunk road.” ~ Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council
The A127 Task Force, made up of MPs and councillors from across South Essex, believe large-scale improvements are needed and have been making the case for the A127 to first be re-adopted as a trunk road and managed as part of Highways England’s Strategic Road Network, in recognition of its vital strategic role. In the meantime, Essex County Council is also exploring potential schemes to improve four junctions along the A127 – including the Fortune of War in Laindon and Pound Lane in Wickford.
Funding is being pursued from the Government's Major Road Network and Large Local Majors programme, and the Council hopes to submit strategic outline business cases later this year.
"The Arterial road is the lifeblood of not just this borough but the whole of South Essex..." ~ Cllr Dr Richard Moore, Basildon Conservatives Spokesman for Strategic Planning & Infrastructure
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, who chairs the A127 Task Force, said: “The A127 is one of the busiest non-trunk roads in the country and is no longer fit for purpose. This isolates communities, damages businesses and threatens to limit future economic growth and prosperity, both locally and nationally. South Essex has hugely ambitious growth plans and already boasts major ports and an international airport, while two nationally significant infrastructure projects are on the way in the form of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing and a Crossrail terminal. There is a lot to be excited about in South Essex, particularly following the Chancellor’s recent announcement about the Thames Freeport, but it is crucial that our existing strategic transport links are not left behind. While we are working hard to examine potential shorter-term improvements to the A127, we believe far greater upgrades are desperately needed and we are campaigning for this key strategic route to be recognised and for it to be re-adopted as a trunk road.”
Reacting to the news, Cllr Dr Richard Moore, Basildon Conservatives Spokesman for Strategic Planning & Infrastructure, said: “We warmly welcome this news. The Arterial road is the lifeblood of not just this borough but the whole of South Essex, connecting us to London and Southend, but anyone who has driven on the A127 at peak times knows that major upgrades are long overdue. With the major infrastructure projects that are currently planned, and more in the pipeline, there is cause for optimism and re-trunking the A127 is just the beginning.”