THE first step in widening the A13 in Thurrock took place yesterday.

Roads Minister John Hayes plunged a ceremonial spade into the turf for the start of widening works to the A13 at Junction 30.

The £150million roadworks will see an extra lane added in each direction of the A13 where it meets the M25.

As well as building an extra lane in each direction, the junction itself will be improved with new dedicated link roads between the M25 and the A13.

Mr Hayes, who was at the event with Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “This lane is one of the biggest thoroughfares in the country – this is not an insignificant road – this is a part of the world that is bursting with opportunity.

There’s an immense amount of traffic.

“We have had big problems with this junction and this will make a big difference to traffic flow through Thurrock.

“This should have been done ages ago. It wasn’t.

“Jackie made a big campaign for this to happen – and that’s why it’s happening today."

Mrs Doyle-Price added: “The A13 is part of the national road network, but it is always the residents of Thurrock who bear the brunt of the misery caused by difficulties with traffic and congestion. I know this scheme will make a significant difference.”

A 40mph speed limit is in place during the roadworks, which are set to last until autumn.