A303 Dual It! Winning wider support is key to dualling campaign
The impact of dualling the A303 goes well beyond Somerset and Dorset – and support from outside the counties could be critical to achieving improvements on the route.
Villagers in Wiltshire whose community is divided by the A303 are also calling for action to make their part of the road safer.
More than 6,000 vehicles pass along the high street of Winterbourne Stoke every day. Although there is a traffic-light controlled crossing, locals say impatient motorists sometimes jump the red lights.
The village will be familiar to anyone travelling on the A303 between the Somerset and Dorset area and London. The Highways Agency installed a pedestrian crossing and a 40 mile per hour limit applies, but local councillor Ian West says cars are not slowing down enough.
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In Wiltshire, single carriageway sections of the route are considered just as dangerous and congestion-prone as similar sections in south Somerset.
Previously, securing major improvements on the A303 have hinged on the status of the road as a “nationally important” route.
But a report published by a committee of MPs in February 2010 ruled out expansion of the A303 as a major regional project, saying the route no longer had “national status.”
The report said the cost of making the A303 a dual carriageway all the way from Stonehenge to Exeter would be around £2 billion. Work around Stonehenge would cost £500 million alone, the report said.
A scheme to build a road tunnel under the monument was developed by the Highways Agency but abandoned on the grounds of cost in December 2007.
But now the Highways Agency is working with a partnership of local authorities – including Somerset County Council – and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, on an economic assessment study into the impact of dualling the A303. Last week it said it hoped to submit the study to the Department of Transport for consideration later this year.
In November 2012, a cross-party group of South West politicians met in Mere to discuss upgrades to the A303.
The meeting included South West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison.
He said: “Considering dualling the A303 for economic purposes is clearly important as part of a more holistic look at our transport needs in the region, but it’s clearly not something that is going to happen overnight.”
A303 DUAL IT! CAMPAIGN - INTERACTIVE MAP
Our interactive map shows details of crashes dealt with by emergency services on the Somerset stretch of the A303 between 2006 and 2011. Data is from the Department of Transport.
Find your way around our interactive map using the navigation controls (top left of the map) or your mouse to scroll, or zoom in or out.
Click on the individual pins for details of each crash including date, time, conditions, number of vehicles involved and severity of injuries.
Red pins mark fatal collisions, yellow pins show collisions involving serious injury and blue pins show collisions with slight injury.
PRINT OUT OR DOWNLOAD YOUR A303 DUAL IT! PETITION
Click here to open our A303 Dual It! petition form. You can then save it to your computer, or print it out. Alternatively, fill in our online form below.