A protest to highlight the environmental and landscape impact of the proposed Arundel bypass was held last week.
Last October, Highways England announced the grey option as its preferred route which would start at the Crossbush junction and rejoin the A27 north of Walberton.
A consultation is set to be held in the autumn on the latest designs.
In the meantime a contractor has been appointed to develop the scheme’s design, while Higways England is also carrying out a series of surveys including ground investigations in Arundel and the surrounding area.
Last Wednesday (June 23), residents from Arundel and the three villages most affected by the proposed bypass gathered to highlight how the road would impact their historic and wildlife-rich landscape.
Gilly McCadden, who lives in Binsted, described how they met right in the middle of the proposed new road and underneath one of the two proposed bridges.
She said: “One bridge would tower over our house on the east side and then we would have the new dual carriageway itself 10m away to the north. It would be a living hell.”
Resident Sally Ward added: “It’ll destroy the natural habitat between the Arun water meadows and Fontwell. Walberton, Tortington, Binsted and Fontwell will all be seriously harmed, and all the people, flora and fauna that live there. This week the Welsh government cancelled all new roads, and our government should do the same.”
Simon Rose, from Arundel SCATE, described how some people see the compound and machinery and are assuming that construction on the road is already starting.
He added: “Highways England should be clear that there is a long road ahead and they shouldn’t jump the starting gun as it may never be fired.”
There have also been complaints about the security measures being taken, with a robot giving verbal warnings when it senses people nearby.
In response, Highways England said that security arrangements were in place for people’s safety and to protect the machinery on the compound, while it was common practice for a contractor to be appointed to develop the scheme design before the consultation process.
Andrew Jackson, Highways England senior project manager, said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are proud of our track record of delivering vital road upgrades in a way that respects the environment. Any road scheme will inevitably have some environmental impact and we are working hard to understand what it might be and agree appropriate mitigations that protects or enhances the surrounding environment. We are also playing a full role in preparing the country’s road network for a low carbon future.”
“We fully respect Arundel’s special environment and its unique cultural heritage. One of the key aims of our proposals is to draw traffic away from smaller, less suitable roads that will reduce congestion and an noise from sensitive areas.”