ESSEX County Council has emerged as the most likely organisation to lead a project to dual the A120 between Marks Tey and Braintree.

Talks between the authority, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and MPs Priti Patel and Bernard Jenkin took place last week and it was agreed the dualling should be included on the 2020-2025 Road Investment Strategy.

But for that to happen, the proposals will have to be put to the Government and agreed to by Highways England within the next two years.

Colchester Council and Braintree Council will also be involved in the discussions.

The move - which is also backed by businesses - took one step closer in the lead up to the General Election, when Essex Highways bosses allocated £5million to part-fund a study into the dualling project.

The Department for Transport plans to match that funding.

Rodney Bass, Essex Highways chief said: "We shall be delighted to lead on the feasibility study for the A120 if asked to do so.

“We did of course kick start this by pledging £5million for [the scheme] and the Government is matching this sum.

“We shall be delighted to work in collaboration with Highways England with whom we have an excellent working relationship."