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Five-month road closure cancelled amid fears of 'chaos'

PUBLISHED: 11:25 29 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 29 June 2019

Cllr Chris Bentley on site at the A133 Ipswich Road roadworks. Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

Cllr Chris Bentley on site at the A133 Ipswich Road roadworks. Picture: ESSEX HIGHWAYS

Archant

A five-month long closure of a major Essex road which could have caused havoc for drivers has been averted as part of new plans.

The A133, also known as Ipswich Road, had been earmarked for a near half-year closure in what residents and businesses had previously labelled a "nightmare".

The double roundabouts in the road leading to the town centre, main train station, University of Essex and A12 are being turned into a single roundabout as part of a wider multi-million pound scheme.

The A133 roundabout is now expected to be closed for six to eight weeks, as opposed to the original plans.

It comes at a cost as Essex County Council now say they expect the work to be completed in early summer 2020 - but say as a result they will avoid prolonged closures in an attempt to lessen the impact on residents, businesses and visitors.

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The planned works to build a new retaining wall next to the railway line have also been pushed back to January 2020, 11 months later than originally planned.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: "I'm pleased to announce we have been able to adapt our planned works and alleviate the potentially severe impacts a prolonged closure might have had.

"I hope that the changes will help to reassure people that we are listening to their concerns and doing everything we can to mitigate the effect of the works wherever possible, even though that means a longer overall timetable.

"These works really are vital to support growth in Colchester and ensure this critical part of the town's road network is fit for the future. I would like to offer my gratitude to residents and businesses for their patience while they are carried out."

The authority has also confirmed Essex Highways will be re-deploying resources on the remaining carriageway improvements at St Andrews Avenue and the Harwich Road roundabout in an attempt to improve traffic flow and minimise traffic management ahead of December.

Speaking previously, Darius Laws, councillor at the time plans were announced, defended them - arguing: "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."

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