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A303/A358 South Petherton to M5 Taunton
A303/A358 South Petherton to M5 Taunton
- Located in
- Area 2
- Scheme type
The London to South West and South Wales Multi-Modal Study (SWARMMS), completed in 2002, provided a long term strategy to address passenger and freight transport on the main rail and road corridors between London, the South West and South Wales. One of the recommendations of SWARMMS was to improve the A303 corridor between the M3 and the M5, to provide a high standard dual carriageway alternative to the M4/M5.
Further work was undertaken by the Highways Agency in 2004 to compare the A303/A30 between Ilminster and Honiton, which runs through the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with an alternative improvement to the A358 between Ilminster and the M5 at Taunton. This further work led to a decision by the Transport Secretary at the end of 2004 to upgrade the A358 alternative and add it to the trunk road network, thereby avoiding the environmentally sensitive AONB.
A scheme to widen the A303 Ilminster Bypass was previously designed by the Highways Agency in the early 1990s leading to the publication of an Environmental Statement and draft Orders in September 1996. The scheme was then put on hold along with other schemes on the A303.
The proposed route would create a new dual carriageway between the end of the existing A303 dual carriageway to the east of Hayes End Roundabout near South Petherton, along the A303 to Southfields roundabout near Ilminster then along the A358 to the M5 motorway at Taunton.
- To provide part of a second strategic trunk road route between London and the South West
- To provide an alternative trunk road route to the A303/A30 through the Blackdown Hills AONB for traffic travelling between Ilminster and Exeter
- To improve safety for all road users, including pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists, and to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents occurring on the route
- To reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability
- To separate local and long distance traffic and remove slow moving vehicles by eliminating direct access to the strategic road network
- To improve the environment within the village of Henlade by significantly reducing traffic-related problems of congestion, noise, air quality and community severance
- To provide a highway improvement which embraces the environmental characteristics of the area and minimises the impact on the flood plains
A 12 week public consultation was held between 26 February 2007 and 18 May 2007 . It included seven exhibitions at five locations close to the route. The responses to the consultation have been analysed and the Public Consultation Report summarising the responses has been published on the Publications page.
As the A303 is designated as a route of regional importance for funding purposes any major improvement schemes such as dualling must be funded from the Regional Funding Allocation for the South West.
Following the cancellation of the A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme and the South West Region's conclusion earlier this year that the A303/A358 scheme cannot be funded from the Regional Funding Allocation for the South West the Highways Agency is no longer pursuing the proposed dualling.
The South West Region has however identified some £40m to invest in the A303/A358 corridor to improve reliability and resilence of the route. Work has been commisioned to identify these smaller scale more affordable measures. This work should be completed in the summer of 2010.