Traffic light talks: James Cartlidge with Carlo Guglielmi and Sir Bernard Jenkin at a meeting about the underpass on October 18
TRAFFIC lights are set to be installed at a notorious underpass as a short-term solution to 33 years of gridlock.
Long-awaited traffic lights at the underpass next to Manningtree Railway Station are expected to be completed within the next six months as a short-term fix for congestion.
The lights would replace the controversial priority system at the underpass, which is only wide enough for one vehicle.
The lights and their installation is expected to cost between £150,000 and £200,000.
Lawford’s county councillor Carlo Guglielmi met for a third time with representatives from Essex County Council (ECC), Suffolk County Council, Network Rail and Greater Anglia on October 18 to discuss a plan for installing the lights.
He said: “I have been chasing this for several years and it was one of my pledges in 2013. The short-term solution for the underpass is to provide traffic lights to provide an equal opportunity for traffic on both sides of the underpass.
“Currently, we have to give priority to Suffolk traffic and we can queue our side for about 15 minutes to get through to the Suffolk side.
“It just grinds everyone to a halt.”
Mr Guglielmi said the plan is to attach a steel frame to land next to the station and attach a traffic light to it, and put cables on the wall of the underpass.
This means the road would not have to be dug up.
He added: “Hopefully, the work will take up to six months to complete.”
Conservative candidate for Harwich and North Essex Sir Bernard Jenkin and Conservative candidate for South Suffolk James Cartlidge also attended the most recent meeting.
Mr Guglielmi added: “I would like to thank James Cartlidge and Sir Bernard Jenkin for getting Network Rail on board.”
The majority of the funding is coming from developers St Francis Group, which is building on the old factory site in Brantham, Rose Builders, and Tendring Farms, which is building in Mistley.
Their combined input is reported to be about £155,000.
Additional funding could come from county and district councils.
It is expected the lights will be in place for a few years until a long-term solution is put in place.
Sir Bernard said: “We have been moving this forward for months and months.”
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We have been directly involved in constructive meetings with Essex County Council in recent weeks about addressing the problem at the Manningtree underpass. We are happy to work with the ECC on progressing the installation of traffic lights at the underpass, and discussions about the timing, technical issues and other logistical matters are still ongoing.”
The other Harwich and North Essex candidates known to be running for the parliamentary seat include Richard Browning-Smith (Ind), Mike Beckett (Lib Dem) and Stephen Rice (Lab).
Published by Harwich & Manningtree Standard