Construction of a new dual two-lane road to replace the existing single two-lane A303 between Sparkford and Podimore, east of Ilchester. The new road will link two existing sections of dual carriageway and alleviate the congestion that builds up at this bottleneck, especially during the summer months.
The new road is likely to be built to Highways England's new "expressway" standard, and may include provision of a flyover or underpass at Podimore Roundabout, which was built in the mid-1990s with provision for future grade separation.
This scheme is one of three proposed improvements to the A303 and A358 route, which will replace three of the remaining single-carriageway sections. It is to some extent dependent on the completion of the Stonehenge Tunnel (part of the Amesbury - Berwick Down scheme), without which completion of the other parts is unlikely to be considered worthwhile.
This scheme will create a continuous dual carriageway from Mere to South Petherton, but that length will remain isolated from the expressway sections west of Ilminster and east of Wylye. Highways England do not currently have plans to upgrade those remaining two sections of road.
This scheme is part of the Expressway to the South West programme of works.
The preferred route for this scheme has now been announced by Highways England, and the chosen design will see the dual carriageway run mostly on the line of the existing road.
Statutory public consultation on the preferred route began on the 26th January until the 9th March, prior to planning application later this year.
The planning process is in progress by the Planning Inspectorate. The end of the examination is scheduled for June 12th 2019.
Work is due to start in March 2020. This subject to granting the Development Consent Order.
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