Traffic 'bottleneck' road plan for A303 delayed again

Image source, Highways England
Image caption,
Highways England's plans for the dualling of the A303 along a four mile stretch of road between the two major roundabouts

A decision on plans to widen a "bottleneck" road to solve long-standing traffic congestion problems has been delayed until November.

A decision on a proposal for a dual-carriageway between the Podimore and Sparkford roundabouts on the A303 was expected from Highways England this week.

The Department for Transport (DfT) was originally due to rule last December on the scheme, which is expected to cost between £100m and £250m.

Transport minister Andrew Stevenson MP said the decision had been delayed until 20 November to allow "outstanding concerns" to be addressed.

A public inquiry on the proposals was also held last year before the DfT postponed making a decision because of the general election and the Court of Appeal's ruling against a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Local government, business leaders and residents have campaigned for the road to be widened for several years

Scheme project manager Hannah Sanderson said: "We remain confident that the upgrade will tackle a long-standing bottleneck on this section of the A303, reduce journey times to the south-west and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and indeed during peak seasons."

Highways England said it expected construction to begin in 2021 if approval was given.

The announcement comes after a separate decision on a scheme to improve the A303 near Stonehenge was also pushed back until the autumn.

Mr Stevenson said this would now be dealt with by 13 November following "notification of a recent archaeological find within the "world heritage site".

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