Construction on a £135million road scheme to ease congestion and boost access to and from the South West is underway.
The upgrade to the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester, due for completion by spring 2024, will provide a major boost to the region’s economy, improving local journeys and making roads safer.
A ceremony on October 1 marked the start of the works, which will create a high quality, dual carriageway on this congested stretch of the A303.
The multi-million-pound major project is managed by National Highways and funded by the Department for Transport as part of the Road Investment Strategy.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “We’ve provided £135 million to make this scheme a reality, and this is a fantastic moment for the South West as works get underway.
“Not only will it enhance capacity, cut journey times and improve road safety, but as we continue to build back better from the pandemic this project will provide a real boost to the local economy in Somerset and the surrounding region – creating jobs, improving access to housing and opening the region up to the rest of the country.”
Hannah Sanderson, Programme Manager for National Highways, said: “We are really pleased that we are now starting this long-awaited project in earnest.
“The scheme is incredibly important for Somerset’s future, vital to the A303/A358 corridor and it’s exciting that work is finally underway.
“The three new miles of dual carriageway will support economic growth and facilitate a growth in jobs and housing by creating a free-flowing and reliable connection between the South East and South West.
“It will also tackle a long-standing bottleneck, reduce journey times to the South West and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and during peak seasons.”
Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr David Hall said: “It’s really satisfying to see work commence on this vital scheme, which is so important for Somerset’s economy and future growth.