Highways bosses are trialling reopening the Ipswich Road roundabout from today in a bid to ease congestion.

Ipswich Road south in Colchester will be closed until the end of February to allow contractors to complete piling works on site.

As part of the recent road closure, drivers heading into Colchester town centre from the north of Colchester have been stopped from turning right into Cowdray Avenue from Ipswich Road.

Instead, vehicles are being forced down St Andrew’s Avenue and back on themselves, leading to long queues in the area especially during morning and afternoon rush hours.

A spokesman said: "As part of the overall improvement scheme we are undertaking works to strengthen the retaining wall between the road and the railway cutting (Colchester to Clacton line).

"This is a significant engineering operation requiring construction of a new piled retaining wall behind the existing wall below the surface of the Ipswich Road roundabout. Piling work began last week.

"Unfortunately there was not enough available space on the south-east section of the roundabout to allow HGV’s to turn right from Ipswich Road (north) towards Cowdray Avenue as that was unsafe for all contractors working in such a small area.

"Therefore we took the decision to close part of the roundabout and diverted all traffic eastbound along St Andrew’s Avenue to the Harwich Roundabout to then return and head back towards Cowdray Avenue.

"As the piling works have progressed space has been freed up, so we are now in a position to reallocate space to return traffic flow at the roundabout to normal.

"We must emphasise that at the moment this is a trial to try to alleviate congestion in the area during piling works.

"Piling requires a lot of space, so we have to ask people to be patient, please whilst these vital works take place. We will continue to explore every possible opportunity to reduce the traffic management and open the road as soon as it is safe to do so."

Ipswich Road south remains closed until February 24.

The work is the next phase of the £5million Ipswich Road improvement scheme which has been under way since September 2018.

The project, which will see single roundabouts replacing double roundabouts at the bottom of Ipswich and Harwich roads, is due to be completed at some point in the summer.