Options for short and long term schemes to safeguard and provide capacity to this junction were presented at two public information events in February and are available to download from the documents section below.
Essex County Council is fully committed to improving this strategic road interchange on the A127/A130. In 2014, the Fairglen Interchange was identified as a priority junction for South Essex in the 'A127 – Corridor for Growth route strategy', which also demonstrated the importance of the A127 corridor to the economic growth and financial well-being of South Essex. Since then we have been working to obtain funding, part of which was secured from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), with ECC contributing and kick-starting the early technical work to develop interchange options. We are planning to meet local councils and hold public information events to present early designs for improvement so that the public and local communities can start to understand the future traffic volumes on Fairglen Interchange and our current path for solving congestion and improving journey times at this priority junction before they stop our road network working effectively and hinder the economic growth of south Essex.
About the Fairglen Interchange
Where is it?
The A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange is made up of two main elements – Fairglen Roundabout (A127/A1245) and Rayleigh Spur Roundabout (A130/A1245). The Interchange lies at a key point on the transport network in South Essex, forming a strategic connection between the A13, A127, A130 and A1245.
Who is using the Interchange?
The Interchange is located at the boundary of Basildon Borough Council, Castle Point Borough Council and Rochford District Council and it forms the main route for road users heading to or from Southend and London Southend Airport.
Road users travel through the junction for many reasons such as commuting, leisure, business and retail trips, as well as seasonal traffic to and from Southend.
The interchange currently suffers significant congestion and delays on a daily basis and the local authorities each have significant plans for growth in housing and jobs estimated to be more than 25,000 houses and jobs up to 2031. It is therefore likely that traffic growth will increase over the next 15-20 years.
For these reasons traffic growth across this area is likely to increase over the next 15 to 20 years and will have a significant impact on Fairglen Interchange.
What are the problems?
High level of congestion at peak times
A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange currently suffers from significant congestion during peak weekday periods and high traffic flows throughout the rest of the week. The slip roads and main carriageway of the A127 are also very busy and this impacts the performance of the interchange. Also, there are safety concerns relating to poor visibility and drivers not being in the right lanes.
For example, our current issues identification work has looked at how much traffic is using the junction and were it is heading. So far we have identified that the largest movement in the morning peak is westbound towards London from the A127 East and, by contrast, in the evening peak the largest movement is eastbound on the A127 West.
The image provides a visual illustration of the amount of traffic and where it’s heading in the morning peak.
Three major roads joining at one point creates conflict
At a single point traffic can be moving in 6 directions. With the high volume of traffic this means, for example, that the traffic on the A130 (N and SW) has to cross traffic from the A1245/A127 to the A130. While the traffic from the A130 to the A127 (traveling east) has priority and causes delays to traffic exiting the A127 and A1245.
Number of road users means slower speeds and uncertain journey times
110,000 vehicles pass through the interchange in a 12 hour period. In the morning peak period, traffic speeds on the approaches to the interchange are between 40% and 70% of the off-peak traffic speeds. In the evening peak, traffic speeds on the majority of the approaches are less than 30% of the off-peak speeds.
Selecting the right improvement?
Having identified the problems, we have set a number of objectives to enable us to judge possible improvement options and select the best performing one(s) to take forward.
The objectives set for the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange are:
Accommodate / manage future travel demands to facilitate proposed growth in south Essex;
Ensure good connectivity to South Essex via key transport corridors.
Improve opportunities for residents and employees in south Essex to access alternative modes and encourage their use;
Protect and enhance the natural, built and historic environment.
Improve connectivity for non-motorised users through A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange
Improve safety at Fairglen / A130 Interchange through appropriate design, signage, speed limits and visibility.
Manage congestion at peak times to ensure reliable journey times through A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange;
Ensure the Interchange, roads and improvements (ECC assets) are appropriate for future highway network;
Keep A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange operational through improved maintenance provision and incident management.
What happens next?
The technical work is now at a stage where we have options to meaningfully discuss with local communities and their representatives. Local District and Borough Councils, and MP’s have been engaged to update them on the Fairglen technical work.
In mid-February 2017, we held a two public information events to share information about the possible improvements to Fairglen Interchange with local communities, the documents in the documents section were presented.
A127 - Corridor for Growth (An economic plan) - March 2014