PORT OPERATOR P&O has agreed to pay to upgrade the A13 and its junction with the M25 motorway so it can win planning permission for a £1.5bn port development in Essex.
The move is intended to break a deadlock over funding for the improvements, which will release vital capacity on the port's main trunk road link.
Last summer transport minister Derek Twigg told P&O that planning approval hinged on an offer from P&O to fund highway capacity increases (NCE 28 July 2005).
This week P&O's Thames Gateway team said that it had offered to fund two phases of improvement.
The government will consult on the offer before making a final decision.
Phase one improvements involve upgrading traffic lights on junction 30 of the M25 so that timings can be adjusted in real time according to traffic conditions.
This will release enough capacity to let P&O develop between two and three berths at the seven berth port or develop a predefined amount of space at the project's associated business park.
hase two improvements include traffic signing and slip road work to increase the capacity of the A13 east of the M25.