Highways England and the local council have both said they are ‘disappointed’ with the transport secretary’s decision to drop a £280m plan to improve the A27 Chichester Bypass.
Government-owned Highways England said Chris Grayling had written to it ‘instructing us to stop work on the A27 Chichester Bypass major improvement scheme’, following a consultation.
The A27 Chichester Bypass with traffic
Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: ‘We are obviously disappointed at this decision as the improvement would have brought significant strategic benefits to the region.
‘But any improvement had to be right for Chichester and there was no overall consensus. We will continue to work with partners to monitor the route’s performance and to carry out any short term measures we can to help road users, the local community and the region.’
West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: ‘We are naturally deeply disappointed with the Secretary of State’s announcement but we are doing all we can to persuade him to reconsider his decision given the evident need of investment for the infrastructure of our county.
'The cancellation means that the dreadful congestion experienced by motorists every day on this road will now only get worse. This is not only felt especially at peak times, but also on the alternative routes used locally by motorists avoiding the A27.’
However, the Campaign for Better Transport said the cancellation gave the Government opportunity to bring forward cleaner, safer and better alternatives.
Head of campaigns James MacColl said: ‘New roads only create new traffic and while some junction improvements might be warranted, there needs to be far greater emphasis on improving public transport and making it safe and attractive to walk and cycle.’
Highways England said it would be publishing the report on last summer’s consultation and the executive summary of the scheme assessment report on the website ‘in due course’.