THERE has been frustration at the cancellation of road improvements at an “accident black spot” after Highways England revealed revised plans.

The previous plans, which were at the crossroads on the A27 in Wilmington, have been cancelled with people in the area saying they received no further explanation on why the widening of the road would be cancelled.

Residents are now asking for the plans to be reversed, although works have already begun.

The original plan also included adding a central lane for cars to turn into The Street and Thornwell Road by widening the road.

The Argus: The original plan included a central lane, pegasus crossing and cycle lane.The original plan included a central lane, pegasus crossing and cycle lane.

Highways England told The Argus “safety concerns” were raised by independent experts.

One resident told The Argus: “Wilmington crossroads is very dangerous and has already proved to be an accident black spot because of the difficulty vehicles face turning onto and off the A27.

“The proposed third lane would greatly help road safety and reduce delays. The A27 East of Lewes improvements were agreed following extensive public consultation during 2016 and 2017.

“It is utterly unacceptable that the improvement at Wilmington should be drastically reduced in scale with no further consultation or even explanation, and at the stage when works are already beginning.”

The Argus: The junction currently.The junction currently.

Highways England stated that the safety concerns were raised in late 2018 through a road safety audit which was carried out by independent safety experts, and that they have to have a very good reason to go against the audit.

They fear that vehicles from The Street could use the extra lane to turn right which would put them into the path of traffic.

Tom Beasley, project manager for National Highways, said: "The improvement scheme between Lewes and Polegate will provide real benefits for drivers, making journeys more reliable, reducing congestion and improving safety along this section of the A27.

"The original plan was to widen the crossroads to provide a right-turn lane as well as a Pegasus crossing.

“However, safety concerns were raised that an extra lane at the crossroads could be used by motorists emerging from The Street to turn right, leading vehicles dangerously in the path of live traffic. As a result the improvements will now just be the pegasus crossing."

The Argus: Google Maps view with new plans overlaid. Pegasus crossing can be seen on left and cycle lane runs along south side of A27.Google Maps view with new plans overlaid. Pegasus crossing can be seen on left and cycle lane runs along south side of A27.

Horseriders regularly cross the dangerous junction, so the specially designed pegasus crossing will allow them to safely cross. While the cycle lane, which runs along the A27, will make the route much safer for cyclists and motorists.

Maria Caulfield, Conservative MP for Lewes said she was disappointed in the decision by Highways England.

She said: “It is deeply disappointing that Highways England have just changed their mind on this after months of disruption for local people and local businesses.

“When we asked for some improvements to the scheme and help to minimise disruption we were told everything had been agreed and it was too late. Suddenly when it suits them things can be changed . This is not good enough.”

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