A27 upgrade consultation timetable published
Preferred routes for improvements to the A27 in West Sussex, including an Arundel bypass, will be announced in 2017 following detailed consultation, the Government has confirmed.
Highways England, the new government-owned strategic highways company, which replaces the Highways Agency, has set out the timetable for consultation over the routes of the A27 improvements announced in the Autumn Statement last year.
The Highways England Delivery Plan 2015-2020, published on 26 March, confirms improvements on the A27 Corridor "taking forward two schemes that will provide a total of six miles of dual carriageway across the A27, helping to relieve congestion at Arundel, Worthing, Lancing and East of Lewes."
The Plan states (page 26) that it will "develop and assess a range of options to inform consultation with key stakeholders” and "engage more widely with local stakeholders on the A27 bypasses at Arundel and Worthing / Lancing” this year.
Highways England will then “develop proposals and assess traffic and environmental impacts” next year (2016) before it undertakes “further and more detailed consultation on proposals for Arundel and Worthing / Lancing" and “make recommendations on the preferred routes for these two schemes" in 2017.
Work on the Chichester bypass improvements is scheduled (page 19) to begin in 2018/19 and be completed in 2020/21.
Highways England says (page 70) that as the other A27 corridor schemes “are at an early stage, we are not yet in a position to confirm timescales for construction. This information will follow as plans develop.”
But the Government’s Road Investment Strategy, published in December 2014, committed funding of over £400 million for the A27 Arundel bypass, Worthing and Lancing improvements and Chichester improvements, setting an expected start date of “Late Road Period 1” which ends in 2019/20.
The Department of Transport published detailed A27 corridor feasibility study technical reports on 12 March. The reports ruled out ‘online’ improvements to the A27 in Arundel on economic and environmental grounds, concluding that “on the basis of the evidence available, there is an investment case for a dual carriageway at Arundel which could provide value for money, subject to consultation with the National Park Authority, local government and the public on this, and alternative options”. The Government has indicated that the “starting point” for consultation should be the previous preferred pink-blue offline route for the bypass.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs Nick Herbert commented: “It is encouraging that the timetable for consultation on the A27 corridor improvements has been set out, and that this substantial funding for the dual carriageway and Arundel bypass has been committed for this five year road period.
"I always emphasised that there would be ample opportunity for local people to have their say over the route of the Arundel bypass, and this announcement shows that there will be full and detailed consultation. It is important that local people have their say, but equally essential that the bypass goes ahead without undue delay. If anything, this timetable is too extended."
Mr Herbert added: "I continue to believe that the pink-blue route, which commanded widespread support when it was published, is the right option. The detailed feasibility study reports explain why other route options have been ruled out on cost or environmental grounds."
1. Highways England Delivery Plan 2015-2020, published on 26 March 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highways-england-delivery-plan-2015-2020.
2. Road Investment Strategy, published on 1 December 2014 and updated on 12 March 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/road-investment-strategy.
3. Department of Transport A27 corridor feasibility study overview, published on 12 March 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a27-corridor-feasibility-study-overview.
4. Department of Transport A27 corridor feasibility study technical reports, published on 12 March 2015:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a27-corridor-feasibility-study-technical-reports.
5. Nick Herbert welcomes announcement of Arundel bypass: http://www.nickherbert.com/news.php/575/mp-hails-quotfantastic-newsquoton-arundel-bypass.
6. Nick Herbert calls for ‘beautiful’ Arundel bypass bridge: http://www.nickherbert.com/news.php/578/mp-calls-for-beautiful-arundel-bypass-bridge.