HIGHWAYS bosses behind plans to upgrade the A27 insist there is one feasible £69 million option to reduce congestion – but it will not have significant longer-term benefits.

Plans to improve journeys for tens of thousands of drivers by upgrading six key junctions along the A27 through Worthing and Lancing and acquiring 6.2 hectares of land were unveiled by Highways England yesterday.

Road users, businesses and residents are being encouraged to take part in an eight-week public consultation, running until September 12.

Highways England exhibition documents show the organisation has discounted six other more radical improvement options such as flyovers and underpasses in favour of this scheme.

The documents state: “The improved junctions do not have sufficient capacity to cater well for peak period traffic in the longer term, due to planned developments and natural growth in population.”

The proposals for Worthing and Lancing form part of the Government’s investment along the A27 to increase capacity, reduce congestion and fully renew some of the road’s busiest sections.

Highways England project manager Tom Beasley said: “The plans we’re announcing aim to increase capacity at key junctions in Worthing and Lancing to help reduce journey times and improve safety.

“We want to make sure the improvements we take forward are the right ones, delivering the most overall benefit and value for drivers, and people living and working in the area.”

Mr Beasley added that for every pound spent, about £1.53 of benefits would be generated through things such as reduced delays for commuters.

He said by 2041, with extra traffic anticipated, journey times would still be cut by three to five minutes.

A joint statement from Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, said: “The only option that they have been able to come up with represents a ‘tinkering round the edges’ at the six key identified junctions.

“There is no convincing case that this will have any significant impact on traffic flow, congestion or air quality to deal with the existing problem let alone the significant growth in traffic expected if various proposed developments go ahead.”

The junctions that would be improved by the scheme include the Durrington Hill and Salvington Hill junction, Offington Corner roundabout, Grove Lodge junction, Lyons Farm Retail Park junctions, the Busticle Lane and Halewick Lane junction and the Grinstead Lane and Manor Road junction.

Worthing resident and safety engineer John Hanson, 58, said the plans seemed like a “short-term fix” and that “other long-term solutions hadn’t been considered”.

He said: “This will create more pollution at the junctions rather than spreading pollution outside residential areas.”

For more details and feedback forms. visit highways.gov.uk/a27Worthing-and-Lancing.