A303 Sparkford to Ilchester

We’re upgrading a three-mile section of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester, to make the road safer and more reliable. The delivery of this scheme is part of a long term aim to create a high-quality dual carriage way link between London and the South East and the South West.

Start date January-March 2020-21
End date 2023-24
Cost £100 to £250 million

Latest updates

  • 26 August 2020

    Planning permission update

    We have now provided the additional information about our planning application (Development Consent Order) as requested by the Secretary of State to the Planning Inspectorate. You can view our response here. The Secretary of State will now have until 20 November to consider the additional information and decide whether to give permission for the scheme.

    We’re continuing to plan the scheme on the basis that it will gain its DCO. Our team is working hard behind the scenes to progress the detailed design where possible, this includes completing ecology, drainage, road and land surveys.

    We remain confident that our proposals will tackle a longstanding bottleneck on this section of the A303, reduce journey times to the South West and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and during peak seasons. We hope that the DCO will be granted in due course.

  • 23 July 2020

    Planning permission

    We were informed via the Planning Inspectorate’s website on 21 July that more information is needed to get planning permission (a Development Consent Order) for our proposal to convert the A303 between Sparkford to Ilchester to a dual carriageway. We have been given until 18 August to submit our additional information. The Secretary of State will then have until 20 November to consider the additional information and decide whether to give permission for the scheme.

    We remain fully engaged with this process, and will provide the information that has been requested. We remain confident that our proposals will tackle a longstanding bottleneck on this section of the A303, reduce journey times to the South West and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and during peak seasons, and we hope that the DCO will be granted in due course.

Project information

Overview

The A303/A358 corridor is a vital connection between the South West and London and the South East.

While much of the corridor is a dual carriageway, there are still over 35 miles of single carriageway. These sections act as congestion bottlenecks, particularly in the summer months and at weekends, causing delays to road users, and they add to an increased risk of accidents.

We're proposing to dual a three-mile single carriageway section between Sparkford and Ilchester. On an average day the road carries 23,500 vehicles, but numbers increase significantly in the summer, particularly at weekends making journeys unreliable and unpredictable. This scheme will reduce congestion, improve journey times and make our network safer for customers.

The new dualled section will start east of Podimore Roundabout and will follow the alignment of the existing A303 to Downhead. Travelling eastwards, it then moves north of the existing A303 single carriageway, allowing the existing road to be kept for use as a local road in this section.

The route then rises up West Camel Hill before crossing over the existing A303 at the junction with Steart Hill/Howell Hill. It then takes a southerly alignment before meeting up with the existing road again to pass between Vale Farm and the MOD signal station at Eyewell/Traits Land.

Finally, the route bypasses the existing Hazlegrove Roundabout to the north through the Registered Park and Garden associated with Hazlegrove House, before tying into the existing A303 Sparkford Bypass.

In delivering the scheme, we’re aiming to:

  • improve the capacity of the road to reduce delays and queues that occur during peak hours and at key times of the year i.e. the height of summer.
  • support economic growth, facilitating growth in jobs and housing by providing a free-flowing and reliable connection between the South East and the South West
  • make the road safer, by providing additional capacity and reducing driver stress. We’ll make routes safer for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders in the area.
  • protect the environment and look for opportunities to improve it, minimising any unnecessary impact of the scheme on the surrounding natural and historic environment and landscape.
  • work with local communities to reduce the impact of the road on a sense of community severance, and look for ways to improve local peoples’ quality of life
  • make journey times more reliable and resilient, by providing more capacity it will become easier to manage traffic when incidents occur.

Documents

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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