DfT “minded to refuse” A303 dualling plans

A decision on plans to upgrade the A303 in Somerset has been put back to November while the Department for Transport considers safety issues around the scheme.

Local newspaper the Chard and Illminster News reports that the DfT is “minded to refuse” the designs because they involve the digging of new ponds near RNAS Yeovilton, which could lead to birds getting caught in aircraft engines or helicopter blades, increasing the risk of crashes.

There are also concerns about non-motorised transport, local roads and junction design.

Highways England has put forward plans to dual the section between the Podimore and Sparkford roundabouts, which were debated at length at a public inquiry in 2019.

Hannah Sanderson, senior project manager for the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester scheme, told the paper, “We’re continuing to plan the scheme on the basis that it will gain permission.

“We remain confident that the upgrade will tackle a long-standing bottleneck on this section of the A303, reduce journey times to the south west, and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and indeed during peak seasons.”

(Picture: Geograph.org.uk)

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