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Plan to ease jams at Basildon Hospital roundabout
6:00am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
YEARS of woe for drivers and hospital patients could be over with a new plan to ease congestion at a busy Basildon roundabout.
The Echo can reveal Essex County Council is looking into the feasibility of installing traffic lights just before the Basildon Hospital roundabout, at Nethermayne, to help vehicles get in and out of the car park more easily.
The idea could be included as part of a £3.4million project to widen the road.
The works will see an extra lane added northbound between the hospital roundabout and the Roundacre roundabout in a bid to ease tailbacks on the stretch, which is used by 25,000 vehicles a day.
It has now emerged County Hall will be road-testing traffic lights at the top of the road for three days this month to see if it improves the daily delays.
Senior bosses at the hospital claim patients and staff sometimes have to wait for more than an hour to get out of the site.
Zoe Smith, director of estates, said: “Basildon Hospital has been working with Basildon Council to improve the flow of traffic to and from the site from Nethermayne.
“This follows a number of discussions about how we can enable staff, patients and visitors to leave the site quickly, particularly in the evening rush hour when they can be delayed for more than an hour.
“We welcome the trial and further measures which may have a positive impact on the traffic flow.”
In May the Government said it was putting £2.3million towards the Nethermayne improvements, with County Hall also giving the project £1.1million.
The programme of works is due to be finished by September 2014, but council chiefs hope the traffic lights could help ease peak-time congestion in the meantime.
But Kerry Smith, county councillor for Westley Heights, said: “My concern is if patients are coming off the A13 to the south, they might end up waiting longer for traffic coming out of the hospital – and every second is valuable when you’re being taken to hospital.
“I also think it just pushes the problem elsewhere and it demonstrates widening the road will not make an iota of difference if they want to put traffic lights in there now.”
County Hall will decide whether to incorporate the traffic lights into the A176 project by December.
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