Planning for the long-awaited upgrade of the A303 and A358 in Somerset is now underway, roads minister Andrew Jones has revealed.
On his first major trip as roads minister Jones toured the south west to review existing and potential projects involving the Department for Transport.
This included the planned upgrading of the A303 and A358 to dual carriageway, which has been the subject of several years of lobbying from local authorities to secure ‘whole route improvement’ for the corridor.
Jones said: ‘It’s a really important part of the next phase of the roads investment strategy and a project that is critical to the economy of the area.
‘Just because there aren’t diggers on the ground doesn’t mean that things aren’t moving. Lots of planning work and preparation for this is taking place.’
Somerset CC led the local partners attempting to secure funding for the project suggesting it was vital for relieving congestion and promoting growth in the area.
Cllr David Fothergill, cabinet member for highways, said: ‘The minister’s comments about the A303 and A358 were very welcome. This is a key issue not only for Somerset, but the entire South West, which is why we campaigned so hard for it and why we had so much support from partners like the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
'Having the chance to discuss this and other projects face-to-face with a minister is a valuable opportunity to make sure Somerset’s needs and priorities are not overlooked.’
The minister also visited the recently completed Beer Wall works on the A372 and the raised-road at Muchelney.
Surveyor's Highway Management conference will take place on September 23rd and 24th in Manchester. To register go to: www.highway.surveyorevents.com