£170 million plan to dual A303 from Sparkford to Ilchester
There could be an end in sight to the notorious congestion at the Sparkford roundabout on the A303 if Highways England plans for a new dual carriageway from Sparkford to Ilchester get the go-ahead.
The £170 million scheme is currently the subject of public consultation (until 29th March), with two possible routes for the new dualled trunk road. The timetable is for a preferred route to be announced next year, with work scheduled to start in March 2020.
The scheme is part of a long-term plan to turn the A303 into an Expressway, a mile-a-minute major route linking the West Country to the national motorway system.
The Sparkford to Ilchester section will create a 30 mile stretch of dual carriageway from Mere to South Petherton. More than 26,000 vehicles use this stretch of road a day, double the number it was designed for.
“Almost four 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.”
- Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
There are two options for the Sparkford to Ilchester dual carriageway.
Starts east of Podimore Roundabout and follows the alignment of the existing A303 to Downhead. At this point it moves north and rejoins the existing A303 near Sparkford.
Starts east of Podimore Roundabout before leaving the existing A303 to pass south east of Annis Hill. The route passes north of Steart Hill and would re-join the existing A303 near Sparkford.
If you want to look at the plans and talk to Highways England engineers, there is a public exhibition at the Davis Hall, West Camel, on Friday 10th March from 10am to 6pm.
Copies of the consultation documents are at Wincanton Town Hall, and you can complete the questionnaire on the scheme at www.highways.gov.uk/Sparkford-to-Ilchester.
Highways England has just finished a period of public consultation on a proposed tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge and a dualled bypass for Winterborne Stoke. The current work programme will also include plans to upgrade the A358 between Taunton (M5) and Southfields on the A303. Future schemes include dualling the dangerous single and three-lane stretch from Mere to Chicklade, and the Ilminster bypass.
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