ROADWORKS at the A27 Crossbush interchange could be completed before Easter, after the transport minister urged the Highways Agency (HA) to “redouble its efforts”.
The roadworks, which have been a blight to businesses in Arundel – with some traders reporting a 70 per cent slump in income – and also to motorists using the A27 and surrounding roads, could now be completed two weeks early.
After the town’s MP, Nick Herbert, took the fight to Westminster, roads minister Mike Penning responded, saying he would support Arundel’s concerned traders.
Mr Penning promised to implement plans to hasten the work on the A27’s crumbling embankment.
The minister vowed that work would continue until dark every day, and that safer work, like resurfacing, would be done at night.
Mr Penning said: “While we all understand that the work being carried out is essential to improve the safety and resilience of the A27 I have asked the HA to redouble its efforts to take every possible opportunity to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. We expect to be able to remove restrictions in time for the Easter weekend.”
However, Arundel’s district council representative, Paul Dendle, has argued that this simply isn’t good enough.
In a letter to the HA, sent on Tuesday, Mr Dendle questioned whether the works would be completed before Easter.
He also urged HA officials to set aside funding for a publicity campaign to raise awareness of Arundel, after the roadworks were completed.
Mr Dendle wrote: “I believe the HA should contribute £5,000 towards a campaign to announce the opening of the A27 and to boost business, this could have the joint logos of HA and Arundel Chamber of Commerce to give business a boost.
“Secondly, we need reaffirmation of your intention to finish the work before the Easter weekend. If you could agree to this, it would go a long way to repairing the damage to Arundel business and your reputation.”
James Stewart, co-chairman of Arundel Chamber of Commerce, who also runs the Zimmer Stewart Gallery, in Tarrant Street, agreed with Mr Dendle. He said: “We’re pleased to hear the work might be finished two weeks before scheduled. However, that still equates to more than a month of severely reduced earnings for most of the town’s businesses, a figure which is simply not acceptable.”
A spokesman from the HA said that the it was considering the letter and it was determined to complete the roadworks as soon as possible.