The plans for upgrading the A27 will feature a combination of improvements along the existing road through the South Downs National Park and Arundel.
Andrew Jackson, senior project manager at National Highways for the A27 Arundel Bypass project, spoke exclusively to this newspaper on Tuesday (January 13), to make the launch of the consultation.
"Today is the start of the statutory consultation," he said. "It will last for eight weeks until March 8.
"During that time, we are going to have nine, live in-person consultation events and six virtual events. They will be an opportunity for people to talk to the project team.
"We will have other events in between to deal with specialist stakeholders most affected by the route."
Mr Jackson said the project team took the grey route, which was decided in October 2020, and 'improved, refined and developed' that design to 'make sure it is the best possible route'.
However, 'it is not yet complete'.
Mr Jackson added: "We have got it to a good point where it is appropriate that we share that with the public.
"We are seeking as much as possible views back from the public on this route and design. How it affects individual people and properties so we can try and refine it so we can do the best possible for everybody.
"We will take all those views back into the design, which will be refined later in 2022. That will all feed towards our submission for an application to build this route."
Mr Jackson said it is 'hugely important' for people to have their say, adding: "That's why we are going different ways to allow engagement, live and through the internet.
"There may be things we don't know. There may be better ways for us to do things."
What are the benefits of the scheme?
The grey route features new bridges spanning the River Arun, over the Arun Valley Railway and over Binsted Rife, as well as a new junction at Crossbush, 'finally putting an end' to the ‘road to nowhere’ junction.
Under the plans, around 8km (4.9 miles) of new dual carriageway will be created to the south of the existing A27, from Crossbush to Fontwell roundabout. Around 6.6km (4.1 miles) of the existing A27 will be 'de-trunked'.
National Highways said the route will help to 'reduce journey times, improve reliability and make the road safer'.
Its project manager said the benefits of an 'improved strategic route' is to get traffic out of the local network and South Downs National Park.
"All that through-traffic going back and forward will go on a bypass," Mr Jackson said. "That will make it better for local people, businesses and even tourists and holidaymakers coming in the summer."
We asked Mr Jackson what key changes had been made in the updated proposals.
"Do not assume what it will look like," he responded. "We have done a lot of land mitigations and quite a lot of realignment, where it is appropriate.
"At a higher level, there are two big questions. One is the [future] of the golf course at Avisford Park. We will also be asking questions on the realignment on Yapton Lane in Walberton.
"There are other changes at the western end, for reasons to do with the environment and habitats, we are reducing the speed limit.
"That is also going to have benefits to local communities as it will reduce noise. It will reduce air pollution, to a certain degree."
The public are urged to thoroughly read the scheme brochure and watch the video fly-through here.
Mr Jackson continued: "The best way for people to have their say is for people to go on the website and fill out the form which asks about 13/14 questions. You can get your input clearly recorded to the project team."
National Highways is inviting the public to its consultation events where you can see the information and ask questions directly to the project team:
- Arundel Town Hall – Tuesday 18 January 11am - 7pm
- Walberton Village Hall - Saturday 22 January 2022 10am – 4pm and Monday 21 February 2022 11am – 7pm
- The White Swan, Arundel – Thursday 27 January 11am - 7pm
- Fontwell Park Racecourse - Thursday 3 February 11am - 7pm
- Yapton and Ford Road Village Hall - Saturday 5 February 10am – 4pm
- Slindon Coronation Hall - Saturday 12 February 10am – 4pm
- Burpham Village Hall and Recreation Ground - Thursday 17 February 10am – 2pm
- Regis Centre Car Park, Bognor Regis - Friday 18 February 10am – 2pm
- Whiteways Car Park, Arundel – Saturday 19 February 10am – 2pm
- Littlehampton Town Council Manor House – Tuesday 22 February 11am - 7pm
- Cathedral Centre, Arundel - Thursday 24 February 11am - 7pm
The project team is also holding a series of live chat events, accessed via a virtual exhibition on these dates:
- Tuesday 25 January, 5pm - 8pm
- Tuesday 1 February, 5pm - 8pm
- Thursday 10 February, 10am - 1pm
- Saturday 26 February, 10am - 12pm
- Tuesday 1 March, 5pm - 8pm
- Friday 4 March, 10am - 1pm
Finally, you can view copies of all our documents at the following locations; Angmering Library; Arun Leisure Centre; Arundel Library; Barnham Community Hall; Bersted Park Community Centre; Bognor Regis Library; Chichester Library; East Preston Library; Findon Valley Library; Goring Library; Littlehampton Library; Rustington Library; Slindon Forge Village Shop; Storrington Library; Walberton Baptist Church Hall