A303 consultation begins

Consultation starts this week for a £170 million project to upgrade a massive section of the A303 in South West England.

The section of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester will be upgraded to create 30 miles of dual carriageway between Mere and South Petherton.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Almost 4 million trips are made on the A303 every year and we are investing more than £2 billion to improve these motorists’ journeys, making them quicker and safer.

“Tackling congestion on this vital road will also help boost the economy in the south-west, unlock thousands of jobs and homes and promote tourism.

Work will include making junctions safer as well as providing better links for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Consultation by Highways England over the preferred route starts on February 15 and will run until March 29 with a decision to be announced in autumn this year.

This section of road was designed to cater for 13,000 vehicles a day. At present, twice that number of vehicles use the road daily and dualling the route will cut journey times, while new junctions will improve safety.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “This scheme will be really good news for people travelling to and from the south-west, particularly during the busy summer months.

“Our consultation and public exhibitions will provide an excellent opportunity to explain further our plans and to hear feedback from people on our proposals to deliver the scheme.”

Work could start on the scheme in 2020 and construction is expected to take around two years to complete.

A separate consultation on building a tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge is already underway and details on upgrading the A358 between Taunton and Southfields are to be revealed imminently.

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