Council could back two ‘desirable’ A27 options without indicating preference

Chichester A27
Chichester A27

Chichester District Council could back two different options for the A27 as being ‘desirable’ without indicating a preference for either.

Highways experts Systra, who were appointed to provide technical advice for the Build A Better A27 (BABA27) group as it looks to submit a scheme for future Government funding, have identified two concepts for improvements.

The consultants consider a ‘mitigated northern route’ option offers the best long-term transport solution for the A27 at Chichester, but they also concluded a ‘full southern route’ addresses all the key concerns raised with earlier south options.

CDC cabinet members are being recommended to promote both options as ‘being desirable without indicating a preference for either option’ when they meet next Friday (June 8).

According to an officers’ report: “Systra recognise that with both concepts significant further work will be required to take any proposal forward for formal inclusion as a RIS2 scheme. They state that ongoing close working with Highways England (HE) will be required together with engagement with key stakeholders.

“They state that their analysis and judgement indicate that both these concepts are deliverable but with different cost, benefit and risk profiles and reliance on strong mitigation measures. Systra have not therefore recommended one of these concepts over the other.

“Given this analysis and HE’s commitment to carrying out a detailed technical assessment of both concepts, it is suggested, on balance, that both the ‘mitigated northern route’ and ‘full southern route’ are promoted to HE as being desirable without indicating a preference for either option.”

A mitigated northern route would see a new ‘off-line’ dual carriageway route to the north of Chichester between a point west of the Fishbourne junction and a point east of the Portfield junction, with an option to provide a junction with the A286.

Meanwhile the full southern route would see improvements to six junctions on the existing A27 Chichester bypass, including underpasses at Fishbourne and Stockbridge, flyovers at Whyke and Bognor, and a flyover and junction remodelling at Portfield.

Three other shortlisted options for smaller-scale improvements to the existing junctions, both a full southern route and mitigated northern route, and a tunnel were all discounted by Systra.

West Sussex County Council has been recommended to choose a mitigated northern route as its preferred choice.

A report from council officers which will be considered by the environment, communities and fire select committee on Monday (June 4) said the ‘full southern route’ should be put forward as a ‘reasonable alternative’.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling pulled funding for improvements to the A27 at Chichester in March 2017 citing a lack of support for Highways England’s shortlisted options from the community and local authorities.

In response the BABA27 group was set up to build consensus for an improvement scheme which could be submitted for a future round of Government funding.