South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester
has joined the campaign calling for the entire length of the A30/A303 route from London to the West Country and Land's End (see map below) to be made a dual carriageway. Long-desired, the campaign boost is opportune in light of the Government’s recently announced plans to devolve power and funding decisions on major transport schemes to the regions affected
The A303, the main part of the trek, is a 92-mile long stretch of trunk road
connecting Basingstoke in Hampshire with Honiton in East Devon. Together with the M5 (From Bristol/Birmingham) and the A30 (from Exeter to Cornwall) it is one of the main routes from London and the rest of the country to the South West. Numerous large sections of the road are single carriageway, so is often congested due to its popularity amongst motorists – particularly in the holiday seasons.
Mr Chichester, who lives in East Devon, regularly uses the route to visit constituents and to travel to and from London. “Many of my journeys are delayed because of bottlenecks and tailbacks which are in large part due to the single carriageway sections,
” he writes in a letter to local media
“Lack of a dual carriageway resulted in me and thousands of other car and lorry drivers having to waste time following detours through miles of narrow country lanes. It was a nightmare which sadly could be repeated if total dualling of the A30 is not completed.”
As it stands currently, Whitehall must approve all projects costing in excess of £5 million, but the Government hopes the plans would encourage the formation of consortia across wider areas to deal with larger strategic schemes, although the Minister for Transport Justine Greening insists this would not be compulsory.
The A303 is used by an average 30,000 vehicles a day, and improving it could bring annual economic benefits of more than £1 billion to the West Country economy, Mr Chichester claims.
The road was even subject to a BBC4 documentary broadcast in May 2011 called "A303 Highway to the Sun". The writer Tom Fort drove the length of the A303 in a Morris Traveller, making various stops along the way. Click here to watch
(video hosted on Vimeo).
Labels: Giles Chichester