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

The examination report from the Planning Inspectorate was issued to the Secretary of State for Transport in September. We’re now waiting to hear whether the Secretary of State will decide whether to grant or refuse the Development Consent Order (DCO).

On 15 November 2019, The Planning Inspectorate posted the following on its website in relation to this scheme: “In light of the general election, the original decision date of 12 December 2019 for the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling Development Consent Order application will now be postponed until a new Government is appointed. A Statement to Parliament setting a new deadline for a decision will be made once Parliament is in session. The Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on 12 September 2019. The decision letter and Recommendation Report will be published on this project page once a decision has been made.”

View the scheme page on the Planning Inspectorate website.

What's next?

We’ve recently awarded a contract to Galliford Try to complete the design work and construct the scheme. The project team are busy getting things ready to start construction in spring 2020 following a hopefully successful DCO decision. Before we start the main construction activities we’ll come and see the local communities to give you some more information about what you can expect during the construction period.

Timeline

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
2020 (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.

Aims

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

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Project timeline

Planned roadworks

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