Controversial A27 roadworks to take a festive break

A SENIOR county councillor has pledged not to ‘give up’ on the A27.

The major coastal road is currently undergoing improvement work in Chichester and Worthing.

However, delays have caused concern among Chichester traders who fear the work will affect business in the city over Christmas.

Speaking at a full county council meeting on Friday, Louise Goldsmith said: “We have to develop a strong economy in this county and part of this is the A27. So I’m not going to give up on that.

“Some of the schemes to improve the road are not oven ready and will take a while to work up. However, small things can be done to get the traffic moving. It has to be a two-pronged approach.”

The statement was a response to county councillor Dr James Walsh, who said the council should take every opportunity to lobby the government to improve the roads where they have oven-ready schemes for Chichester improvement works.

“While small-scale plans are welcome, they are unlikely to make an impact,” he told members.

Major roadworks to combat regular flooding are taking place on the Chichester by-pass between the Portfield and Fishbourne roundabout. Road improvement between Shoreham and Worthing is also disrupting traffic flow.

A spokesman from the Highways Agency said: “The work on and around the Chichester bypass is all going extremely well so far and to plan. We are suspending the work over the Christmas period.

“For that time, all restrictions will be lifted and the full number of lanes will be open. We are still on course to finish in late February, 2013.”

The work includes the installation and replacement of pipes and pumps to take excess water off the roads when heavy rainfall occurs.

All traffic management will be removed by 6am tomorrow and work will start again on Thursday, January 3. However, the £1.5m flood alleviation scheme continues to be the subject of much debate.

In a letter to the Observer, Vincent Gray, from Fishbourne, said flooding on the road occurred as a result of insufficient drainage on feeder roads around the A27, such as Fishbourne Road East.

“Surely prevention is better than cure,” wrote Mr Gray.

“Better drainage of the A27 will do nothing to prevent flooding within the A27 – flooding that blights both business and domestic dwellings as well as the many commuters, walkers and cyclists that use this road and national cycleway due to the culvert acting as a bottleneck and thus failing to cope with the large volumes of water wanting to flow under Fishbourne Road East and continue on its journey to the sea. Fix this, you fix the problem, at a fraction of the price and causing a minimum of disruption.”

n For the full letter, and more reaction to the roadworks on the A27, see Pages 86 & 87.