County Council Leaders push for “bigger picture” after PM’s promises to improve A303

Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to revamp the A303 as part of a £15 billion “roads revolution” has been welcomed by Somerset County Council.

However, County Council Leader John Osman and Deputy Leader David Hall have pressed the Government to commit to the “whole route” improvement programme needed to seriously upgrade the key road.

They have urged the Government to avoid a piecemeal approach to modernising the route, which they say would not be far reaching enough.

The key A303 trunk road links London and the South East to the South West through Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Devon.

The Prime Minister says it is one of over 100 major road projects targeted for investment in December’s Autumn Statement, equalling “hundreds of extra lane miles on our motorways and trunk roads”.

John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “The A303 is a major arterial route connecting the capital with our beautiful county, and I warmly welcome the Government’s announcement.

“Yet with a projected £2bn needed to improve the whole of the A303, and over 100 improvements to major roads proposed by the Coalition, we will be pushing the Government to factor in the bigger picture of investment needed to improve the whole route – generating a £41.6 billion boost to UK economy and creating over 21,000 jobs.”

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Improvements, such as dualling the A303, have long-been called for as a solution for increasing traffic flow and tackling congestion on this busy, in-demand route.

“But as one of the county’s vital arteries, the A303 simply will not meet the demands of the 21st Century unless the Government commits to a sustained, whole-route programme of improvements.

“This means also investing in improving the A303’s key connecting roads or ‘swallow-tails’ – where it branches north along the A358 to Taunton, and the A30 to Honiton – which are crucial for economic growth and resilience.

“An intelligent scheme to tackling major congestion at Stonehenge also needs to be addressed as part of this bigger picture approach.

“We, in tandem with our neighbouring County Councils, will be keeping the pressure on to ensure a future A303 meets the needs of our county and the South West region.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 3 December 2014.