WORK to prepare for Colchester’s new rapid transit system could delay drivers for up to five months before construction even starts.

Preparation works for a new rapid transit lane started in Clingoe Hill on Monday and will continue until May before the main construction works start in early summer.

Essex Highways says the new lane will “improve journey time, speed and reliability”.

A notice published by Essex Highways warns drivers of traffic management and lane closures while the current works take place.

Gazette: Delays - preparation works could cause disruption on Clingoe HillDelays - preparation works could cause disruption on Clingoe Hill (Image: Glyn Baker)

“These will take place at night where possible to avoid serious impact on traffic, however there may be some instances of daytime lane closures which will ensure the work can be done as efficiently and safely as possible,” it said.

The preparation works include vegetation clearance and diverting utilities.

Work to construct the multi-million pound scheme, which will connect the city’s park and ride station near Junction 28 of the A12 to the proposed garden community on the Tendring and Colchester border, started in January last year.

Roadworks in Greenstead and Mile End as part of the scheme have previously been criticised for causing traffic chaos across Colchester with drivers reporting getting stuck in heavy congestion.