Dual It! Thousands sign Western Gazette petition to improve A303
Dual it! That is the clear message from thousands of Western Gazette readers.
In just nine weeks, more than 2,000 people have signed a petition to the Government calling for improvements to the A303.
Hundreds have signed forms in shops, garages and workplaces, while many more have returned coupons printed in the newspaper or signed the petition online.
Gwen James, of Winchester Gardens, Yeovil, whose 20-year-old son Santino died in a collision on the A303 in November 2011, has collected 200 signatures.
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Despite still coming to terms with her beloved son’s death, Mrs James asked family and friends to support the campaign.
She believes if the A303 was fully dualled, her son might still be alive today.
Last week, an incident on the Ilminster bypass left residents in no doubt of the need for road improvements.
The road was temporarily blocked late on Tuesday afternoon when a burst tyre left a lorry stranded.
David Lefeuvre, of Ilminster, said afterwards: “This is a prime example of why we need to dual the A303, or at the very least have a managed roadway system such as along stretches of the A38 over the Tamar bridge and into the Saltash tunnel, or along new motorways, this would allow a more controlled response to incidents.”
Anna Rae of Yeovil said: “Every time there is a traffic jam along the A303, it backs up all the way along the route on the way back from Taunton, a major commuting route.”
Mr Redgrave of Crewkerne, who signed the A303 Dual It! petition on www.thisissomerset.co.uk said: “It is imperative that the A303 is dualled throughout to drastically reduce the accidents and fatalities. In addition, by making the A303 a dual carriageway it will most certainly reduce carbon emission by reducing the traffic jams during the summer months.”
Not everyone agrees the road should be dualled and those views have also been documented.
But the Western Gazette’s campaign has put the issue firmly on the agenda, bringing it to the attention of influential players in Somerset and Dorset communities and key national decision makers.
Earlier this month the Western Gazette challenged Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg over the prospect of Government funding for the dualling of the A303.
Mr Clegg said £40billion of money was available for infrastructure projects that will improve economic activity.
The campaign has also come to the attention of other members of the Cabinet and representatives in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Government ministers David Laws and David Heath were among the first to welcome our bid, which has also been encouraged by South West MEP Sir Graham Watson.
Western Gazette reporters have heard first-hand accounts of the carnage on the A303 from crash victims, emergency service personnel and a road safety expert.
They have also heard from representatives of the business community who want to see the road dualled to boost the South West economy.
Somerset County Council is leading talks between the Government and representatives from the South West which plan to formally submit a case to the Government to dual the A303.
Deputy leader of Somerset County Council, David Hall, said: “I met cabinet members from Devon and Wiltshire and senior officers from our three councils to discuss work done so far on this important project.
“We agreed our next step will be to look at the various sections of the route to establish where the strongest benefits lie in economic terms.
“This type of evidence is critical to our case and is the sort of information the Government will be expecting to see when considering the merits of the project.”
The Dual It! campaign now hopes to add thousands more signatures in 2013.
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.