A27 Arundel bypass gives Chichester much hope

It is good to see a preferred A27 scheme for Arundel formally announced after years of starts and stops, and with funding behind it, writes Keith K. Martin, ex-Chichester district councillor, of Earnley, Chichester.

An artist's impression of the route. Picture: Highways England
An artist's impression of the route. Picture: Highways England

This is significant for Chichester which has also experienced decades of no progress.

The A27 at Chichester is the most heavily used unimproved section of the south coast’s only east to west, strategic trunk route connecting major conurbations, seaports, centres of commerce, distribution, horticulture, tourism, and recreation.  

The capacity of the existing road has been overwhelmed by the great increases in vehicles around Chichester, about 50 per cent of which are through traffic.

It is vital that this through traffic is separated from local users.

As at Arundel, a new through route at Chichester would achieve this, relieving congestion, reducing the current high accident rate, improving travel times, air quality, and an end to rat-running.

An offline option causes the least interference during construction, whereas sequential and piecemeal online works on the multiple junctions would take years, lead to even worse delays, and harm the local economy.

This was recognised by the Build a Better A27 process, which recommended a new mitigated northern route, a finding endorsed by both West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council as their preferred solution.

The option announced for Arundel is the longest and most costly of the six options presented.

This is significant as it demonstrates that an offline improvement of an equal standard and of a similar length at Chichester is a realistic proposition.

A transparent all-options consultation is essential and would be welcomed by the tens of thousands of residents and daily users, and by the businesses affected by daily congestion and delay.

Arundel demonstrates the need for committed and sustained high level political support and effort by the local MP to make things happen.