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West Sussex County Council to tackle A27 traffic hell
1:00pm Sunday 21st October 2012 in News
A council is to tackle traffic hell on the A27 itself after growing tired of waiting for Government assistance.
West Sussex County Council is promising “incremental, achievable and affordable”
improvements to the A27 at three traffic bottlenecks, but concedes that a major overhaul remains decades away.
The council yesterday announced plans to develop proposals to improve congestion around Chichester, Arundel and Worthing, with short-term changes that can be carried out over the next five years.
The authority said it still has long-term aspirations for a bypass along the county’s busiest road but conceded that Government funding would not be forthcoming before 2015 at the very earliest.
Speaking at the meeting, Pieter Montyn, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said A27 congestion was damaging local businesses and discouraging companies from relocating or expanding in Sussex.
He added: “The difference this time is that in the past we have been pushing for major schemes.
“It is clear that major schemes will not happen now and we will have to wait and our economy will not wait. That is why we have to do something quickly.
“The strategic group will be looking at achievable options, brought in incrementally and that are affordable through pooling of finances.”
Funding could be pooled from the Highways Agency, which is responsible for trunk roads, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, the Coastal West Sussex Partnership and district and borough councils.
The announcement was made during a council meeting yesterday, following a motion by Liberal Democrat councillor Derek Deedman, who urged the council to consider all possible funding options to help pay for major road improvements.
Toll roads Speaking to The Argus prior to the meeting, the Bramber Castle councillor said that an effective solution around Worthing would cost £1 billion alone, while major projects at Chichester and Arundel could cost in excess of £100 million each.
He said that the council needed to explore all funding options, including businesses contributing to the costs, private finance initiatives and even toll roads.
At yesterday’s meeting, councillors were told how traffic problems meant Shoreham-based technology firmRicardo was having difficulties recruiting skilled workers.
They also heard how surrounding roads to the A27 had become “rat-runs”
for motorists looking for short-cuts away from traffic jams.
Middleton councillor Christina Coleman said the current congestion was restricting access for emergency vehicles.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader James Walsh said that the latest Department for Transport funding of £40,000 for Ford Roundabout would simply shift congestion 30 yards west.
County council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We have to recognise that the type of A27 improvements we want to see are still many years away, possibly decades.”