Worthing residents have warned Highways England the A27 is already a ‘safety gamble’ and improvements should bear local traffic in mind.
Meanwhile, transport minister John Hayes MP reassured Tim Loughton MP the Worthing stretch of the A27 improvement scheme ‘remains unaffected’ by the scrapping of Chichester plans when they discussed it in Parliament on Monday.
Many residents are concerned changes designed for long distance drivers will create holdups for Worthing traffic, and cut residents off from the South Downs National Park.
John Hughes of the North Durrington Residents’ Group said: “Residents fear that for Highways England it’s all about improving travelling times for through traffic, and not about meeting local need to reduce north-south severance and improve access to the national park.”
“Even with present traffic volumes, exiting from many driveways or streets onto the A27 is a safety gamble.
“Air and noise pollution are having serious health impacts already,” he added.
Mike Tristram, coordinator for the Sompting A27 Rural Group (SARG), said: “We don’t want junction improvements to be dropped.
However, he raised concerns changes to the A27 will create problems for Sompting, inlcuding cutting the village off from the Downs.
“It makes it very difficult for Sompting residents to get across the A27 to walk in their National Park countryside. Highways need to think creatively.”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said: “With a consultation on plans for a Worthing bypass due to begin this summer, I urge the Government to include long-term sustainable and environmentally sound transport options, informed by local communities.”
Pauline Cory of Transition Worthing said local traffic is already taking the brunt of the town’s transport issues, referring to ‘pinch points’ at Lancing Manor roundabout, Lyons Farm and the ‘notorious’ Grove Lodge roundabout.
“Highways England needs to pay particular attention to anyone trying to get in or out of Worthing during peak hours,” she added.
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