A27 improvements will only be a ‘sticking plaster’

Best4Chichester believe the improvements won't solve long-standing traffic issues

Best4Chichester believe the improvements won't solve long-standing traffic issues

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All of the options being considered to upgrade the A27 will provide only a ‘sticking plaster’ solution to Chichester’s traffic woes.

That is according to Best4Chichester, who have reiterated their stance that only a new bypass would improve the dire situation for both local and through traffic.

Chris Page from the campaign group said: “I have said it before, but this is just a sticking plaster solution.

“In the long-run we are going to have to revisit the proper provision for a new bypass.

“Winchester, Petersfield, Newbury, they all have proper bypasses, and when our group contacted people from those places, they were clear they categorically wouldn’t go back.”

Highways England has just begun the public consultations on the now five improvement options, which all involve upgrades to the existing stretch around Chichester, ranging from £47m to £280m.

Two draft options for a new northern bypass, as well as an option for a partial new southern route, were all dropped in March, ahead of consultations, provoking anger from Best4Chichester and others who were in favour of being given a say on a potential new road.

Mr Page criticised plans on many of the options to limited access to the A27 at junctions coming from the Manhood Peninsula, and add lights to some as ‘nonsense’, adding that all unnecessarily include the closure of the Oving lights.

“Our small team have looked at the consultation documents and went to the public exhibition and we have concluded that none of the options is satisfactory,” Mr Page said.

“A city like Chichester needs a proper bypass. None of the online options will relieve the traffic problems for either local or through traffic in the long run.

“Work on the existing route will chaos for users, particularly from the south but anyone using the bypass, for up to 41 months.

“If there was a new bypass, Highways England’s own figures show it would remove 42 per cent of the current through traffic. That would reduce traffic on the existing A27 to something like its original design capacity.

“The former option to build a new northern bypass, removed before the consultations, would have had several benefits (to the existing A27).

“It would have reduced accidents and congestion considerably, would improve air quality and result in less noise for those living close to it.

Highways said all the options for deviating away from the current stretch were dropped because they exceeded the £250m budget.

But Mr Page pointed out that Option 2, at £280m, was also over budget.

“That option accounts for a new Stockbridge link road, which shows a willingness to barrel through open countryside.

“That road is about three quarters the length of what was being proposed for the new road north, which would have cost around £307.8m.

“So for just another £20m they could have bitten the bullet and provided a proper solution.”

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