COUNCIL bosses have reignited their campaign to secure government funding to build the new A120.

Essex County Council’s deputy leader Kevin Bentley has urged politicians and businesses across the county to send a “strong unified” message in support of the A120 realignment.

County Hall plans to dual the busy road between Braintree and Colchester by installing a new route between Galleys Corner and junction with the A12 to the south of Kelvedon.

Government funding must be secured before work can begin on the new road and with key decisions set to be made in the autumn on future investment in major roads across the UK, Mr Bentley says upgrading the A120 should be a key priority.

Speaking during a meeting at County Hall the cabinet member for infrastructure said: “Put simply, the opportunity to upgrade this woefully inadequate road is too good to miss.

“With the current A120 we have the only single-carriageway road in the UK with a major airport at one end and a major international seaport at the other.

“Our proposed dual carriageway will address this and unlock economic growth and other benefits to businesses and local communities equating to £4.5 million for every £1 million spent.

“Therefore, we should all get behind this scheme and ensure those making decisions about funding are in no doubt about its importance.”

Funding for the project would have to come via the Government’s Road Investment Strategy programme, which is overseen by the Department for Transport and Highways England.

If the money can be secured later this year it is hoped construction, which would take three years, could start as soon as 2023.

Essex County Council says the new road would could provide the region with a £2.2billion economic boost supporting businesses, job creation, inward investment and housing.

It is also hoped it would reduce traffic congestion at rush hour.

Witham MP Priti Patel, who has backed the campaign to dual the A120 since she was elected in 2010, has echoed calls for stakeholders to come together to secure funding for the project.

She said: “The A120 is a major economic corridor connecting businesses to towns and international hubs but for years it has been unsafe and the cause of accidents, congestion and delays.

“For too long the stretch between Braintree and the A12 has not been fit for purpose and we now have a once in a generation opportunity to secure investment in upgrading this road.

“I have been pressing the case for the A120 to ministers in meetings and in the House of Commons so they know how important this road is and this campaign is one we should all back.”