A303 Sparkford to Ilchester

Improving the single lane to a dual carriageway on the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester, part of a programme of improvements to the A303/A30/A358.

Region:  South West
Start date:  2019-20
Cost:  £100 to £250 million
Status:  PLANNED
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  TBC
Programme:  A303 / A358 Corridor improvements

Progress report

Following the examination of the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling scheme by the Planning Inspectorate, and the recommendation that was made to the Secretary of State for Transport in September 2019, a Development Consent Order (DCO) decision was expected on 12 December 2019. In a written statement made to parliament on 29 April, the Secretary of State confirmed that the deadline has been extended to 17 July 2020.

View the scheme page on the Planning Inspectorate website.

What's next?

We’re continuing to plan the scheme on the basis that it will gain its development consent order. Our teams are working hard behind the scenes completing some necessary surveys looking at drainage and the topography (the shape and features of land surfaces) of the local area, and finalising the detailed design for the scheme.

We currently anticipate starting on site in early 2021; this is later than we’d originally planned. This is a consequence of the extended DCO process, and reflects the fact that some of the first tasks we’ll have on site, specifically environmental activities, need to be done at certain times in the year.

We will continue to keep you, and the communities living close to the scheme, updated with our plans as they develop.


Date Event
2014 Scheme included in the Roads Investment Strategy
2015-2016 Route identification
15 February to 29 March 2017 Non-statutory consultation on route options
October 2017 Announcement of preferred route
26 January – 9 March 2018 Statutory consultation on proposed scheme
27 July 2018 Development Consent Order submission
17 July 2020 (TBC) New deadline (extended) for the DCO decision to be announced
2021 (TBC) Start on site

Why we need this scheme

The A303/A358 corridor is a vital connection between the south west, London and the south east. While much of the route 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 travelling between the M3 motorway and the south west and an increased risk of accidents.

This section of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester comprises a mix of dual and single lane carriageway, which leads to localised congestion, impacting adversely on journey times and reliability. This section also has a poor accident record as a result of poor junction alignment and visibility, and changes in road type.

We're proposing to dual this single carriageway section. The scheme will reduce congestion, improve journey times and make our network safer for customers.

View an overview map of the scheme.


The aims of the scheme include the following:

  • capacity: reduce delays and queues that occur during peak hours and at seasonal times of the year
  • safety: improve the safety of the network by providing additional capacity, reducing driver stress and enabling safer access to and from the motorway. It will also improve the non-motorised user routes in the area
  • environment: avoid unacceptable impacts on the surrounding natural and historic environment and landscape and optimise opportunities for enhancement
  • local communities: reduce community severance and promote opportunities for improving their quality of life
  • support economic growth: facilitate growth in jobs and housing by providing a free-flowing and reliable connection between the south east and the south west
  • connectivity: improve the connectivity of the south west to the rest of the UK and improve business and growth prospects
  • resilience: improve journey time reliability and resilience, and provide extra capacity to make it easier to manage traffic when incidents occur

The scheme in detail

Our proposal is for a dual carriageway that starts east of Podimore Roundabout and follows the alignment of the existing A303 to Downhead. Travelling eastwards, the route moves north of the existing A303 single carriageway, allowing the existing road to be retained for use as a parallel 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. The route then takes a southerly alignment briefly 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.

Project media files and documents

There are no images for this project

Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The A303 westbound between the junctions with the A371 and the A359 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 06:00 on 28 May 2020 to 14:00 on 28 May 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 22, 2020, 8:12 pm


Breaking News: Traffic Information

Breaking News

The latest current breaking news items for England's motorway network

The A21 is closed northbound between the A225 and the A25 due to a collision
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am
The A30 is closed eastbound between the B3260 and the A382 due to a collision
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

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