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A127 Economic Growth Corridor

Why is the A127 economic growth corridor so important?

The A127 forms the central corridor through South Essex, providing a vital link between London and Southend and connecting large centres of population and industry with London Southend Airport.

More than 80,000 vehicles a day use some sections of the A127 – making it the busiest non-trunk road in Essex and busier than parts of the M11. 

South Essex already boasts major ports and an international airport, while two nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) are on the way – the proposed Lower Thames Crossing and a Crossrail terminal.

It is also a national priority growth area and there is an ambitious vision for its future, including the creation of over 100,000 new jobs by 2050, the construction of 96,000 new homes by 2038 and a £15 billion increase in the area’s contribution to the UK economy.

What next for the A127?

Although some junction improvements are already planned, far greater investment is needed to upgrade the A127 and unlock South Essex’s huge economic growth potential.

However, neither Essex County Council nor Southend Council - the highways authorities on the route – have the budgets required for the scale of improvements that are so badly needed.

Together with our partners, we are therefore making the case for the A127 to be re-adopted as a trunk road and managed as part of Highways England’s Strategic Road Network – a vital first step in securing the investment it needs.

A127 Fairglen Interchange  
A127 Fairglen Interchange
A127 Rayleigh Weir

Timeline

1925 – The single-carriageway A127 is opened by Prince Henry of Gloucester

1940 – The A127 is extended to a dual carriageway

1997 – The A127 is de-trunked, having formerly been classified as a trunk road 

2018 – A Task Force is established to develop a long-term vision for the A127 corridor

2020 – A campaign is launched to make the case for the A127 to be re-trunked in order to unlock future investment

What are the problems?

The A127 is one of the busiest non-trunk roads in the country and is no longer fit for purpose.
The road is close to capacity at peak times, resulting in regular congestion and delays.

Journeys on various sections of the road typically take over twice as long during peak periods, while trips westbound between the M25 and Gallows Corner are more than four times longer during the morning rush-hour.

On some sections, such as between the Nevendon and Noak Bridge junctions, traffic exceeds 85% capacity for four or five hours a day, resulting in unreliable journey times.

Delays on the A127 increase business costs, affect supply chains and harm productivity, costing millions of pounds a year.

Congestion exacerbates environmental problems such as poor air quality and has a negative impact on road safety.

The inadequacy of the A127 also isolates communities and threatens to limit future economic growth in South Essex, as well as having a detrimental knock-on effect on the national economy.

Without significant investment, these issues will hinder the growth and prosperity of South Essex and the wider region.

A127 Task Force

A Task Force consisting of local MPs, council leaders and officers and other key partners was established in 2018 to develop a long-term vision for transport along the A127 corridor. 

It set five core objectives:

  • Economic Growth: Support and facilitate sustainable economic growth along the corridor. Recognising the role that the A127 corridor plays in the South Essex economy
  • Connectivity: Manage congestion and improve journey time reliability
  • Environment: Improve air quality, reduce pollution and manage the impacts on surrounding communities
  • Safety and Resilience: Improve safety and network resilience
  • Asset Management: Effective management and maintenance of all transport assets, e.g. roads and pavements, structures, signs and safety barrier

The group has played an important role in highlighting the importance of the A127 in enabling economic growth across South Essex, as well as exploring current and future issues across the route and discussing dozens of potential improvement options.

However, it is clear the local highways authorities will never be able to fund schemes of the huge scale required. The Task Force is therefore making the case for the A127 to be re-adopted as a trunk road.

The minutes of previous A127 Task Force meetings can be found in the documents section at the bottom of this page.

Current projects

Several schemes are already planned or in development to help resolve some of the immediate congestion and safety issues at junctions along the A127, but it is clear that much more comprehensive improvements to the whole corridor are needed.

Fairglen Interchange

Various improvements are planned at the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange. These include a segregated left-turn lane from the A1245 southbound to the A127 eastbound, slip road improvements and a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Works are currently scheduled to start in 2021.

A127 Fairglen Interchange

More information is available on the Fairglen Interchange page.

The Bell Junction

Works are already under way to improve the Bell Junction on the A127 in Southend. The £5million scheme includes improved pedestrian facilities and new dedicated lanes for turning onto adjoining roads. 
More information is available on the Southend Council website.

MRN junction improvement schemes

Proposals are being developed to improve four more junctions along the A127, with funding being pursued from the Government's Major Road Network (MRN) and Large Local Majors programme. 
The four junctions are the Fortune of War Junction, Warley Junction, the Halfway House Junction and Pound Lane Junction. Further details will be made available as the proposed schemes progress.

Although these projects will address some of the immediate issues at the respective junctions in the shorter term, far greater upgrades to the A127 are desperately needed. The dual carriageway will continue to hinder the future economic growth and prosperity of South Essex unless there is significant investment. 

The A127 Economic Corridor Today
A Growing Corridor