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Doubling of the A303 in Somerset to begin in September as Highways England publishes construction schedule Bath City News

Construction of a new two-lane road in Somerset will finally begin in September, transport bosses have promised.

Highways England presented proposals in 2019 to double the single carriageway section of the A303 between the Podimore roundabout near Ilchester and the Sparkford roundabout, where the road meets the A359.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP finally granted permission for the £ 250million program in January 2021, with construction scheduled to last until 2024.

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Highways England has now released details of the construction program and has confirmed plans to start work on the site in the fall.

Posting on his official Twitter account, a spokesperson said: “We are preparing to start work on the A303 Sparkford-Ilchester project in September.

“You might soon see some of our construction team in the area. We will demarcate the areas of land that need fencing and set up our site offices and complexes.

The project will see a stretch of approximately three miles doubling between the two roundabouts, with the new carriageway largely following the footprint of the existing road.

On average, the route carries 23,500 vehicles, but the number increases dramatically in the summer, particularly on weekends, with many using it as a route to the Glastonbury Festival from London and the South East.

The South West division of Highways England has confirmed that the program will be divided into seven phases, some of which will overlap.

A303 Sparkford junction construction program in Ilchester (Image: Highways England)

Here’s a breakdown of where and when the new route was delivered:

Podimore Roundabout to Downhead Lane (via Camel Cross): the site will be cleaned up and a fence will be put up and all utilities in the area will be diverted. Target Date: September-November 2021 From Downhead Lane to Steart Hill: A new complex will be created, wildlife will be moved and a significant amount of soil will be removed to allow for the construction of the new bridge. Target Date: End of August 2021-October 2022 Steart Hill Overbridge: The new bridge will span the new two-lane carriageway to connect existing roads near the Downhead junction to the A303. Target date: September 2021-May 2022 Southern haul road and temporary bridge: A temporary road will be built south of the existing A303 at Howell Hill near West Camel, so that materials can be moved to and from the construction site without obstructing local roads. Target Date: September 2021-May 2022 Northern Transport Road: Another temporary road north of the existing A303 will serve construction traffic that needs to travel between Steart Hill and the Hazlegrove Roundabout without using the local road network. Target Date: September 2021-October 2021 Camel Hill Roundabout at Hazlegrove: Site will be cleared and a second complex constructed, with a new roundabout entrance being constructed to connect to existing local roads. Target Date: September 2021-May 2023 Hazlegrove Sub-Bridge: This will allow the new A303 to be transported on local roads and provide new access to Hazlegrove School. Target date: December 2021-September 2022

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Highways England will host a virtual exhibit later in July, explaining its construction program in more detail and revealing how the traffic will be handled – including details of any long-term diversions.

Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh welcomed the news about the Ilchester project, which straddles his constituency and the neighboring seat of Somerton and Frome currently represented by David Warburton.

He added that he was pushing the government to make improvements to the Ilminster ring road (which currently alternates between one and two lanes) in the coming years.

He tweeted on Monday (June 28): “I pleaded, with good reception, for the doubling of the Ilminster bypass directly following the 2024-25 works on the doubling of the A358 from the M5 to Taunton in Ilminster. “

We want to hear your thoughts on this story, so tune in and leave your comment below.

A new public consultation on the A358 doubling program is expected to take place in the fall – although the Planning Inspectorate has warned that the program, if approved, may not be completed until 2028.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-01 11:17:44

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