In response to your article about the A27 meeting, and the MPs comments, the impetus for proposals to duel the current road did not come from the Highways Agency, which previously considered a ‘through the town’ scheme unviable.
Before the 2015 election, the then Chancellor asked his MPs to come forward with infrastructure projects.
Our MPs put forward the idea to ‘improve’ the current road, rather than seek a by-pass. The money awarded was restricted to that option, so it is unsurprising that the Highways Agency has not considered alternatives.
Not surprising also that resident representatives on the Working Group, who had to fight to be included, should want to hold meetings with their residents to share their perspective on implications for local people. I am grateful to them for keeping us in the picture.
Whatever our MPs may say, common sense indicates that to create a 50mph dual carriageway on the A27 the traffic has to flow freely. Not only does this require the road to be widened, but the 300 driveways accessing the road have to be removed, in effect ‘removing’ all the houses.
Similarly, access to the A27/A24 from most of the side roads will also have to be closed, increasing the traffic rat-running on residential streets.
If closures don’t take place, then residents will be negotiating access into fast moving traffic, a recipe for more accidents, and inevitably slow down the flow.
If, despite these major challenges, the road were duelled, all traffic management studies show that junctions are the major bottlenecks. But junctions of some sort will still be required at Lyons Farm, Grove Lodge, Offington Corner and High Salvington.
The traffic will still backup, in four lanes rather that the existing two (becoming like the Chichester by-pass), and right outside people’s houses, resulting in double the congestion and associated air pollution.
Putting in concrete under and overpasses will simply increase blight.
Economically, these proposals do not make sense in these turbulent times. The years of disruption will have a detrimental effect on the Lyons Farm retail park, the Broadwater shops, and on small traders who rely on business with householders in the affected areas.
Much of Broadwater, Charmandean, Findon Valley, North Durrington, Offington and High Salvington will be blighted.
Many businesses may not survive and if they do the long-term ’benefits’ are not likely to be achieved.
It seems strange to deliberately degrade quality housing of residents with disposable income, given that the plans to improve Worthing Town Centre will rely heavily on drawing in people who can afford to shop, eat and enjoy the planned leisure facilities. After 6pm the current A27 is almost empty. So much for joined up thinking.
Personally, I would prefer a no change option, and having coped with London traffic for 30 years, find the level of congestion locally is unremarkable.
However I am also a realist. The suggestion that a full bypass is impractical and would require cutting into the National Park assumes new roads.
However, a viable by-pass could be created by dualling existing roads that do not pass through heavily residential areas, and which as they are already major hazards, need attention.
The A283 between Shoreham and Washington is narrow, the A24 is already a dual carriageway, and Long Furlong (much as I loved its country feel as a child) is now a speedway and a complete nightmare, and will continue to be even if some sort of A27 upgrade happens.
Yes, it may take a bit more money but with the close links between our MP and the new Secretary of State for the Environment, and the Government dropping austerity and wanting to boost infrastructure, it is surely possible to press for the required funds.
In going forward with consultation, we should not be hamstrung but ensure all possible alternatives are considered, with proper cost/benefit analysis, so that local people are not railroaded into an outcome that is destructive and does not in the end achieve its stated intentions.
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