ANY major road improvement in a county as environmentally sensitive and precious as West Sussex will not be without controversy, writes this paper’s editor-in-chief, Gary Shipton.
There have been various plans to upgrade the A27 over many decades and all have failed to win approval – either because of local opposition to some of the routing or the vast costs involved.
But anyone who uses this road regularly – either for business or domestic travel – will know that the situation has become critical.
Bottlenecks at the roundabouts around Chichester, at the approaches to Arundel, and all along the single carriageway through Worthing toward Shoreham mean that at rush hour parts of this key highway artery grind to a halt.
With ever more wide-scale housebuilding – not something of which this newspaper approves but a sad fact of life; the growth of popular events such as last week’s Festival of Speed at Goodwood; and the need to secure the local economy; it is imperative that action is now taken.
As a county we have a rare window of opportunity this summer to bid for the many hundreds of millions of pounds of government infrastructure investment that could make it possible.
So we applaud the non-party political initiative of the county council, our local MPs, business leaders, and chambers of commerce, to campaign hard for an improved A27.
The A27 Action campaign calls for:
n Dualling of the A27 across Sussex;
n Six improved junctions at Chichester;
n Improvements to the Worthing-Lancing corridor including the five main junctions and a new junction at Lancing;
n A bypass of Arundel;
n Improvements to the Fontwell junction;
n Improvements to the trunk road junctions at Brighton; and
n Improved A27/A26 access to Newhaven.
Tomorrow’s paper (Thursday, July 3) has a special report about the A27 Action Campaign which is calling for the improvements to the highway.
If you support the campaign - write to us and explain why
We also want to hear your views if you object – even though we believe it has overwhelming merit.
This newspaper will facilitate a full debate about the project in the coming weeks.
One thing is certain, without public support once again this ambition will fail to get off the drawing board.
Attached is a video of the transport secretary’s visit to Arundel this week.
For the full story, plus a special report of the A27 Action Campaign, see tomorrow’s paper.