A MAJOR route improvement scheme has been scaled back with Essex County Council unable to find £2.5 million funding for the project.

County Hall and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) were joint funding a project to improve safety and journeys times on the A133 between Colchester and Clacton.

A number of specific improvement projects were due kick off this summer, at a total estimated cost of £5.48 million.

READ MORE: Millions pledged to upgrade A133 between Colchester and Clacton

However Essex County Council now says it can only afford to contribute £185,000 to the scheme, leaving a £2.5 million funding black hole.

Two of the scheme's aspects will still go ahead, with the Frating and Weeley roundabouts set to be remodelled to increase capacity and improve the road markings.

But the remaining aspects of the proposals, which had included widening the road to two lanes from Colchester on the A133 at Bromley Road, improving signage and increasing the number of safety features, will be paused until enough cash is "made available through an alternative funding source".

A new section of cycleway linking the University of Essex and Elmstead as well as the site of the proposed east Colchester garden community will also be shelved for the time being.

A report states: "The elements which are being recommended for removal from the project scope are considered as complementary works.

"The Frating roundabout and Weeley roundabout were the aspects of the project which are expected to have the most direct impact in supporting the delivery of jobs and houses.

"As such, the project is therefore expected to continue to support and unlock the delivery of most of the 2,450 homes and 700 jobs in Colchester and Tendring stated within the original Business Case."

SELEP's Local Growth Fund has already spent £525,000 on the delivery phase of the project.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said the decision was part of a review of its capital programme to reduce its expenditure.

He added: “As a result a pause has been placed on Essex County Council funding for some highways projects, which has resulted in Local Growth Fund finance being reallocated away from these projects planned under the SELEP.

“Practical reality has led to this action, none of the projects had started delivery on the ground and this policy reflects the current constrained nature of financial resources.”