MAJOR ROADS: Road upgrades consultation
Somerset residents have until the end of November to have their say on which major roads across their county should be upgraded next.
National Highways (formerly Highways England) is responsible for maintaining and improving England’s motorways and major A-roads – including the M5 and A303 through Somerset.
The agency is currently beginning construction on the dualling of the A303 between Sparkford and Podimore, with further public consultation planned this autumn on the proposed dualling of the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster.
Residents are now being asked to give their views on which major stretches of road need to be upgraded next, ahead of the government’s next road investment strategy (RIS) being published.
National Highways is responsible for 620 miles of motorway and strategic A-roads across the south west.
Elliot Shaw, the agency’s executive director for strategy and planning, said: “At National Highways we are constantly challenging ourselves to seek out ways to improve the experience of those who use our roads and the communities who live nearby.
“The new easy-to-use online tool provides everyone from commuters, professional road users, nearby residents and community groups to comment.
“I urge you to provide feedback on what is important to you – a specific location on England’s motorways or major A roads, a longer route or general feedback about our road network.
“This is your opportunity to help inform the long-term vision for the future of our roads.”
The feedback from the consultation will inform the content of the next RIS, which will determine which schemes will be prioritised by the Department for Transport (DfT) between 2025 and 2030.
Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh has been lobbying for the A303 Ilminster bypass (which currently alternates between single and dual carriageway) to be completely dualled as part of the new RIS.
National Highways recently ruled out making any improvements to the Eagle Tavern junction on the A303 west of Ilminster, within the Blackdown Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
The National Highways network does not include busy routes such as the A30 between Chard and Yeovil via Crewkerne, the A38 between Wellington and Bridgwater, the A39 between Minehead and Wells, or the A361 between Taunton and Frome – all of which are the responsibility of Somerset County Council.
To take part in the consultation, visit www.routestrategies.highwaysengland.co.uk before November 30.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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