A CAMPAIGNING councillor has been left angry after the Highways Agency revealed major works to upgrade the A120 works could be delayed for up to five years.

Harwich councillor Ivan Henderson said the Highways Agency’s announcement that funding for any improvements will happen between 2025 and 2030 is “completely unacceptable”.

Highways bosses last year said work was progressing on plans for a major £18million project to reconstruct the “cracked” concrete foundations of the A120 to Harwich.

The work, which was expected to start this Spring and will be completed in 2025 would see the replacement of the concrete surface on the main carriageway, clearing drains, repainting road markings, and inserting new reflective road studs.

The East region has the highest concentration of concrete roads, which were designed between the 1950s and 1970s have an average life span of 50 years.

Mr Henderson, along with campaigning for the A120 to Harwich to be dualled, previously launched a petition calling for works to repair the “horrendous” concrete road surface.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Danger - Councillor Ivan Henderson campaigning in 2022 after there was 5 fatal crashes in six monthsDanger - Councillor Ivan Henderson campaigning in 2022 after there was 5 fatal crashes in six months (Image: Submitted)

In response to an enquiry by Mr Henderson, National Highways said “any” specific improvements to the A120 would “likely” take place between 2025 and 2030 - and that funding for the scheme had not yet been confirmed.

It said: “We routinely monitor the safety performance of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) and apply our allocated budgets based on priority.

“Since the formation of Highways England, now National Highways, our budgets are assigned by the government, in five-year tranches. The third of these begins in April 2025 and will run until 2030.”

Mr Henderson said he feared the A120 was going to be “ignored again” in next budget.

He added: “These improvements to the A120 are needed now - and we were expecting works to start soon. This delay is totally unacceptable.

“We will now be forced to wait even longer and hope it gets funding to take place between 2025 and 2030.

"National Highways found it urgent enough to commission a report in 2020 due to increase in accidents on the road - and now they're talking about hoping money will be in the budget between 2025 and 2030.

"The required  urgency just doesn't seem to be there.

“These new delays could even delay the ultimate aim of getting the road duelled, which is what the public, businesses, and those involved with Freeport East, want."

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Dates - Sir Bernard Jenkin said there was a need for firm datesDates - Sir Bernard Jenkin said there was a need for firm dates (Image: Parliament)

Harwich MP Sir Bernard Jenkin added: “Many of us continue to press for this road to be renewed as soon as possible.

“It’s in the programme for 2025 to 2030, but we need to continue to press for firm dates."