A £52.4 million contract has been awarded improve the A27.

Highways England has announced that contractor VolkerFitzpatrick will complete improvements near Lewes, starting next spring.

It is part of £8.7 billion of work on England’s major A-roads have been signed off this week.

The work will see various junctions along a nine-mile section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate upgraded and a short section west of Polegate made into a dual carriageway, with enhanced walking and cycling facilities along the whole stretch.

Highways England major projects executive director Peter Mumford said: “I am delighted to announce the signing of these contracts, which mark the first of many more to come as part of the Regional Delivery Partnership.”

Highways England asked members of the public for views about the scheme in 2017 and since then the company has continued to develop the design, taking into account comments and issues raised during consultation. This included looking at what can be put in place to minimise the impact on the environment and local communities.

The A27 project will upgrade two junctions along a nine-mile section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate, create a new dual carriageway on a short section of the Polegate Bypass and enhance walking, cycling and equestrian facilities along the whole stretch.

Stuart Ayres, VolkerFitzpatrick’s framework partnership director said: “Following our appointment to the Delivery Integration Partnership Framework in November of last year, we are now delighted to have signed the first scheme contract for the A27 east of Lewes improvement works.

“This marks the start of a new collaborative approach to strategic delivery on the roads network and continues the strong working relationship between VolkerFitzpatrick and Highways England.”

Work on the A27 upgrade is expected to start next spring.

Sustainable transport group South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) objected to the plans. They said the dual carriageway would be noisier than the existing road. They also objected to the impact on the environment most notably South Downs National Park.