A VITAL road link for commuters is set to get a major upgrade in a move which could see a £2 billion boost to Essex's economy.

The A120 at Braintree has long been disliked by residents for being a major road link but only single carriageway.

Concerns over the road's safety have also been called in to question after the death of Levi Bates, 19, at the Coggeshall bypass on the A120 last month.

Now campaigners have managed to secure funding for the road's upgrade in to a dual carriageway - a move which could see £2.2 billion pounds added to the local economy.

The estimation comes as campaigners believe the road upgrade will bring new jobs, businesses and housing to the area.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, says it remains crucial that the A120 is upgraded as quickly as possible.

He said: “The A120 is the only single-carriageway road in the UK with a major international airport, Stansted, at one end and a major international seaport, Harwich, at the other.

“It is, therefore, in urgent need of an upgrade, a project that will add £2.2 billion in gross value to the local economy through new jobs, business and housing while dramatically improving road safety.

“I am, therefore delighted to see Highways England’s commitment to including the road in their programme.”

Together with Home Secretary and Witham MP, Priti Patel, Cllr Bentley headed the campaign to secure funding for the road.

This was supported by local businesses with more than 500 signing a petition to back investment in an upgraded A120.

In addition, the campaign saw overwhelming public support for an improvement scheme with four out of five of the 2,795 responses to public consultation in 2017 agreeing that there was a need to upgrade the A120.

Priti Patel MP added: “The case for dualling the A120 is strong and compelling and I have raised it directly with Ministers in Government.”

“Upgrading the A120 will provide huge economic benefits to the region, will reduce congestion, improve journey times and make this road safer.”

“I have been pleased to work with Essex County Council to get this scheme brought forward and will continue to work with them and Highways England to develop the plans further.

"We will carry on working with businesses and local communities to highlight the importance of this infrastructure improvement and to get the funding for the scheme secured.”

Working with Highways England, Essex County Council developed the A120 plans, while campaigning for Government funding for the work.

Now the Government’s latest Road Investment Strategy 'RIS2', covering April 2020 to March 2025, includes the A120 Braintree to A12.

It has been labelled a ‘pipeline’ scheme to be taken forward by Highways England, with the road scheme being further developed between now and 2025, for subsequent construction.

Essex County Council is currently in the process of handing over to Highways England all work to date on the project.

This includes the authority’s favoured route option for the new road, known as Option D, running from Galleys Corner at Braintree to a new junction with the A12, south of Kelvedon.