AN ACTION group set up to dramatically improve the A27 and create the long-awaited Arundel bypass is being launched today (Thursday, June 26).
The A27 Action Campaign aims to present its case to the Government, which it believes has continued to overlook the improvement of the major road for too long.
The group, which is made up of local authority leaders, MPs and business leaders, say that increasing congestion is holding back the economic potential of our region.
Their approach incorporates the argument that investment on the roads’ five busiest junctions and the addition of a new junction at Lancing would improve capacity as well as increase productivity and investment opportunities.
The A27 group is focusing on reducing key bottlenecks at Arundel, Chichester and Worthing, encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transport, a bypass at Arundel, dualling across Sussex and improvements to the Worthing-Lancing corridor. Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Being stuck in traffic is too regular an experience for commuters. The concept of ‘rush’ hour on that road is a misnomer, it is always busy and getting busier as the economy is improving.
“To avoid the possible hold-ups, particularly at peak times, many drivers are taking alternative routes, which means some of our villages, which are really not suitable for heavy traffic, are suffering and the air quality is poor, they are rightly saying enough is enough.
“So, we’ve joined forces with local MPs and local businesses and we’re lobbying Government hard for improvements to the A27 from Chichester, right through to Worthing and Lancing.
“We know residents rely on it and, these days, people’s time is too precious to be stuck in traffic for too long. It’s not good for the environment or for people’s health and it’s certainly not good for the health of the West Sussex economy.
“The A27 is on a list of six roads across the country being considered by the Government for improvement, and over the last six months we have had meetings with the Department of Transport and BIS to make the case for improvements on the A27, but we do now need to work extra, extra hard to get the A27 to the top of that list.”
Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said: “The action the group hopes to achieve is agreed plans acceptable generally in West Sussex that help the local community. Our economy and employment is held back by poor roads; our lives are at unnecessary risk; our residential environment is damaged by rat running and by unacceptable traffic jams.
“Action on the A27 is important because further delay is so costly. The price we pay includes death and injury, delay and inconvenience, waste of fuel and waste of time, and the damage to the environment.
“The key problems with the A27 are in and near Worthing and district currently, and action is needed at Arundel and Chichester. The group aims to end the scandal of inaction, involving the public and business, and making the case to government.”
The launch meeting is at Worthing College tonight, from 5pm to 7pm.