As a £75m project that will transform journeys on one of the South East of England’s most vital roads nears completion, the scheme has reached another important milestone this week.
A27 East of Lewes is one of a package of four schemes to reduce congestion on the road between Lewes and Polegate which suffers below average journey times, with congestion and collisions a regular cause of long delays. Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders were also not fully catered for with insufficient crossing points and poor east-west connections.
Main construction on this project to improve key junctions along A27 and build the 13km or nearly 9 miles long path for pedestrians, cyclists, and in some areas horse riders, between Firle and Polegate started in March 2020 and is on target to be finished by November. Additional traffic signals at the Gainsborough Lane junction and new and upgraded crossings at Wilmington and Firle have also been installed.
National Highways project lead, Cristina Bucur, said: “Our team have been working incredibly hard to overcome challenges and deliver this project. Our new path will improve links to the communities along A27 between Firle and Polegate, will improve access to South Downs National Park and provide an alternative and sustainable way of travel. We are on course to open the new path – along with the rest of the scheme – in November.”
Along with the new combined cycle and footpath, the scheme includes a host of other environmental benefits. These include:
- A total of 3,025 new trees planted along the route
- 2,625 of the new trees will be in new broadleaf woodlands creating habitats for many species such as beetles and bats.
- 695 trees will be planted in wet woodlands creating habitats for frogs, toads and rare birds such as siskins
- 32,000 plants to create new hedgerows providing habitat for local dormice and many other protected species.