Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has hailed the government’s announcement today that the Arundel bypass will go ahead as “fantastic news for West Sussex”.
The Transport Secretary has today (Monday 1 December) announced up to £250 million of funding for a new dual carriageway bypass of Arundel, linking together the two existing dual carriageway sections of the road. Previous plans for an Arundel bypass were cancelled g in 2003.
The announcement is part of a £15 billion plan to triple levels of spending by the end of the decade to increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads, the biggest investment in roads for a generation.
Although the A27 is the only east to west trunk road south of the M25, it has suffered from underinvestment for many years, with single carriageway sections creating a traffic hotspot at the historic town of Arundel, diverting vehicles up through the South Downs and damaging the local economy.
The new bypass will complete the “missing link” between the two existing dual-carriageway sections, running on the previous preferred ‘pink-blue’ route, subject to consultation with the South Downs National Park Authority, local authorities and the publication of this and alternative options.
The investment in the Arundel Bypass is part of a package of investment worth around £350 million on the A27 to address the key hotspots of congestion, including improvements along the stretch of single-carriageway and narrow dual-carriageway road at Worthing and Lancing and on the road east of Lewes.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said: “Because the Conservatives have a Long-Term Economic Plan, we are able to invest in West Sussex and commit up to £250 million for a new dual-carriageway Arundel bypass. Nick Herbert MP has been a strong local voice, drawing my attention to the need for investment on this road.
“For years this road has suffered from neglect, but with a strong Conservative voice for Arundel and South Downs and a government that’s fixing the economy, we are now able to commit to funding this new bypass, as well as other improvements to the A27, bringing new jobs and opportunities to the area”.
Nick Herbert MP said: “This is fantastic news for West Sussex. Congestion at Arundel has caused delays, forcing traffic up through this historic town and the South Downs, and damaging investment in our coastal communities.
“I am delighted that the government has heard the strong case which we have made for a bypass which will benefit the local economy and the environment alike.”
Mr Herbert added: “There will be full public consultation about the bypass, so everyone will get their chance to have a say. However, along with all of Arundel’s elected representatives at the town, district and county council level, I continue to believe that the bypass is needed, and that an offline bypass on the previously agreed ‘pink-blue’ route is by far the best option. I am glad that this is the starting point for the consultation, and I do not support other proposed routes.”
According to the Department of Transport’s Feasibility Study there around 25,000 traffic movements through Arundel on the A27 every day, nearly 80 per cent of which is through traffic and not local. Sussex Enterprise have calculated that poor transport links in the county are costing £2 billion a year, or £29,000 a year for each business. 14 per cent of coastal West Sussex businesses have said that they would consider relocating outside the county unless the transport infrastructure improves.
Earlier this year Mr Herbert helped to launch the A27 Action Campaign, an alliance of West Sussex MPs, businesses and local councils which has been making the case for improvements to the coastal route. The MP also invited the Transport Secretary to Arundel in the summer to see problems on the road for himself.
The government has already announced a £69 million upgrade to the Chichester bypass, and with the Worthing investment also announced today the ambition of the A27 Action Campaign to improve the route across West Sussex is now being fulfilled. The government says that together the improvements will “transform” the A27 and “help the A27 link together as a single route, supporting the development of the local economy and removing notorious congestion hotspots”.
More than 80 new road schemes were announced by the government today as it outlined how it would spend an already-promised £15 billion on English motorway and trunk routes over the next five years.
The projects include, as expected, a tunnel on the A303 at Stonehenge - a notorious bottleneck - as well as £1.5 billion to be spent on adding extra lanes to some motorways.
Improvements to junctions on the M25, to the A27 in Sussex, to approaches to Liverpool and to the A1 in the north east of England are also contained in the package billed as the first-ever Road Investment Strategy.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin hailed the strategy as “the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades”, while Chancellor George Osborne said it would “transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes” .