AFTER decades of debate and disappointment, the Government has finally pledged to spend up to £250million to build the long-awaited Arundel bypass.
On Monday (December 1), Transport Secretary Patrick McLoug-hlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, revealed a £15billion scheme to ‘dramatically improve the (road) network and unlock Britain’s economic potential’, to Parliament.
Inside the plans included a £350million overhaul of the A27 – a highway previously described as ‘one of Britain’s worst roads’.
The announcement is being touted as the ‘biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme’ in a generation by Mr McLoughlin.
Revealing the plan, Mr Alexander said: “For decades, our roads have suffered from under-investment, so I’m particularly delighted to be able to announce this expansive range of new road schemes today.
“Investment on this scale is only possible because we have taken the difficult decisions needed to control our public finances and stuck to our recovery plan which is now delivering strong growth and record numbers of jobs.
“These projects, like the scheme on the A27 around Arundel, will help unleash the economic potential of both the regions they serve and of the overall economy.”
The A27 is the only east to west trunk road south of the M25. For thousands of motorists in the county, it remains a constant misery with bottlenecks peppering the Lancing to Chichester corridor.
The new bypass will complete the ‘missing link’ between the two existing dual-carriageway sections, running on the previous preferred ‘pink-blue’ route, subject to consultation with the South Downs National Park Authority, local authorities and the publication of this and alternative options.
The cash will also be used to dramatically improve the A27 stretch between Worthing and Lancing.
The Arundel bypass, as well as the Worthing/Lancing improvements, now has ‘committed’ funding, the Chancellor promised.
Praising Arundel and South Downs MP, Nick Herbert, for bringing the issue to his attention, he said: “For years, this road has suffered from neglect, but with a strong Conservative voice for Arundel and South Downs and a government that’s fixing the economy, we are now able to commit to funding this new bypass, as well as other improvements to the A27, bringing new jobs and opportunities to the area.”
Mr Herbert said he was ‘delighted’ by the plan which he said was ‘fantastic news’ for West Sussex.
He added that a full public consultation about the bypass would take place.
Mr Herbert said: “However, along with all of Arundel’s elected representatives at the town, district and county council level, I continue to believe that the bypass is needed, and that an offline bypass on the previously agreed ‘pink-blue’ route is by far the best option.
“I am glad that this is the starting point for the consultation, and I do not support other proposed routes.”
For the full story, plus a special three-page feature on the announcements, see today’s Littlehampton Gazette (December 4).