MAJOR improvements to the A27 could ease congestion for Chichester commuters – if an action group campaign launching today is successful.
The A27 Action Campaign aims to present its case to the government, which it believes has ‘overlooked’ improvements for too long.
Council leaders, MPs and business leaders will form the campaign group, meeting tonight in Worthing.
The scheme will look at reducing bottle necks in Chichester – with plans to upgrade six junctions around the city – and creating a bypass at Arundel.
Schemes and options for the A27 have been drawn up and discussed for many years but none have been approved.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Being stuck in traffic is too regular an experience for commuters.
“The concept of ‘rush’ hour on that road is a misnomer, it is always busy and getting busier as the economy is improving.
“To avoid the possible hold ups, particularly at peak times, many drivers are taking alternative routes, which means some of our villages, which are not suitable for heavy traffic, are suffering and the air quality is poor, they are rightly saying ‘enough is enough’.
“We know residents rely on it and, these days, people’s time is too precious to be stuck in traffic for too long. It’s not good for the environment or for people’s health and it’s certainly not good for the health of the West Sussex economy.”
However, Arundel resident Peter Smith said plans to increase road capacity in the town will cause more congestion in Chichester.
Representatives from Goodwood, Rolls Royce, Coast 2 Capital and University of Chichester are set to go to the meeting, but MP for Chichester Andrew Tyrie, who has spoken out in the past about the ‘traffic pressures’ of the A27, will not be attending. A spokesman for his office said the MP will be meeting with the secretary of state for transport on Friday to discuss the issue.
The action group also wants to encourage sustainable transport on the route.