COUNTY NEWS: Just one £69m option to improve stretch of A27

Just one £69million option to cut congestion on a stretch of the A27 is feasible '“ and highways bosses admit it will not have '˜significant' long-term benefits.

Highways England plans to improve six A27 junctions. Map courtesy of Highways England. SUS-170718-164351001
Highways England plans to improve six A27 junctions. Map courtesy of Highways England. SUS-170718-164351001

That is the conclusion residents will be faced with today as a crunch consultation on improvements between Worthing and Lancing begins (Wednesday, July 19).

Highways England exhibition documents explain only one option is feasible within the budget of up to £100million, with six more radical options discounted.

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It includes converting three of six junctions into crossroads controlled by traffic signals, widening five to create more lanes and acquiring 6.2 hectares of land.

WH 020614 Grove Lodge roundabout end of Offington Avenue. David Wakelin launched a petition to turn the lights off at the Grove Lodge roundabout, Worthing, to ease congestion. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140206-131007001

The organisation argues the scheme would create ‘significant extra capacity and would reduce delays’ but raises questions over its ability to provide a long-term solution.

The documents state: “The improved junctions do not have sufficient capacity to cater well for peak period traffic in the longer term, due to planned developments and natural growth in population.

“Local authorities would need to consider measures to reduce long-term growth such as traffic restraint policies, improvements to public transport and increased cycling and walking.”

Highways England will hold the first of eight public exhibitions between 4pm and 8pm today, at the Richmond Room, in Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing.

The consultation covers six junctions between Durrington Hill and the Lancing Manor roundabout.

Options including flyovers and underpasses were discounted, with alternatives costing well in excess of the budget set by the Department for Transport.

Junction-by-junction proposals include:

Durrington Hill/Salvington Hill, Worthing – Convert priority junctions into a traffic signal-controlled junction. Durrington Hill would be widened to accommodate a two-lane approach

Offington roundabout, Worthing – Convert the roundabout into a crossroad, controlled by traffic signals. Approaches will be widened along with some exits to form new slip roads and lanes

Grove Lodge, Worthing – Widening approaches and circulation lanes to create two lanes of traffic through the junction

Lyons Farm, Worthing – Widening to accommodate more lanes. New turning arrangements at both junctions

Busticle Lane/Halewick Lane, Sompting – A new junction to the west of the current junction for access to and from Halewick Lane

Manor roundabout, Lancing – Widen existing approaches and convert the roundabout to a signall-controlled junction for traffic turning from Manor Road onto the A27. Traffic coming from the Brighton direction would not be able to make U-turns

‘Slight benefits but no significant ones’

Highways England has scored the sole option to improve the A27 between Worthing and Lancing on a number of factors.

Ratings are given for factors including congestion to air quality, rating them as having between ‘significant benefit’ and ‘significant adverse’ effects.

The scheme is forecast to achieve ‘slight benefits’ on congestion, cutting accidents, accessibility for walking and cycling and journey times.

But, according to the scorings, no ‘significant benefits’ will be achieved.

Instead, the majority of issues are rated ‘neutral’, including noise, air quality and long-term traffic demand (2041).

Highways England estimates the plans will have no ‘significant adverse’ effects but ‘slight’ impacts on disruption during construction and visual impacts, with some land part of the South Downs National Park in need of acquisition.

Despite the absence of significant benefits, the organisation is clear that improvements are crucial.

The public exhibition documents state: “Without improvement, the congestion and delay on the A27 through Worthing and Lancing will increase in the future.

“Even if greater reliance on public transport, walking and cycling could reduce some of the future demand for car travel, this is unlikely to solve the problem of queuing and congestion on the A27 through Worthing and Lancing.”