DRIVERS and businesses have welcomed improvement plans for a busy A127 junction.

The Fairglen Interchange improvement works are set to begin next year, which will hopefully see an ease of congestion during peak hours.

The junction serves as a meeting point between the A127 and the A130, and is the last A127 junction before drivers get to Rayleigh Weir when travelling towards Southend.

It is estimated that more than 62,000 jobs will be created in south Essex by 2037, and more than 3,400 new homes per year will be needed to accommodate the new workforce.

This will see a huge amount of traffic being added to the junction, already used by more than 10,000 motorists per day.

The work, aimed at easing congestion for the next 15 years, will begin in summer next year.

Craig Nelson, 35, who uses the junction when travelling from his home in Pitsea to work in Rochford, said the constant delays puts strain on his work and family life.

He said: “Every day it’s a battle. If I don’t time it right, I can be stuck for a full hour crawling from the A13 to the A127.

“The sheer volume of traffic being squeezed into such a small interchange just traps everything.

“Getting off the A127 is no better. It means I’m adding hours on top of my working day, every day, which just drains me, and I’m sure many others.”

Charlotte Robinson, 42, commuted to London from Rayleigh for five years by car.

She said: “Driving was always more financially beneficial for me over the train, but I would dread this junction every day.

“From Basildon down to there, I would crawl, or sometimes just sit still for what felt like ages.

“It was soul destroying, never have improvements been more needed. I hope they’re done as quickly as possible. The road just can’t take it.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chamber of Commerce, warned highways to not cause more disruption during the work.

He said: “I think what many businesses are going to want to see is no more delays, consultations or setbacks. The work needs to be done as soon as, and as smoothly as possible. It also, in my view, should be an operation that mainly takes place at night, when the traffic on the junction is limited.

“If this doesn’t happen, it could just bring fresh problems and delays to a junction that’s already awful for holding up traffic. It could shut off the access to Southend from London and cause Basildon more problems.”

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “We recognise just how vital improvements to the Fairglen interchange on the A127/A130 are and that’s why we are investing more than £28million into this critical junction. Construction is scheduled to start in summer 2020. The estimated construction programme is two years.

“We will be able to share more details about the works programme once the contractor has been appointed.”