A ‘top ten’ list of high-priority road improvement schemes to cut congestion, speed up journeys and support economic growth across the South East has been submitted to government as part of a £3.5bn, five-year investment programme - including the A320 North of Woking.
The schemes – which would each cost between £20m and £50m and be delivered by 2025 if funded – were agreed by Transport for the South East (TfSE), a new regional body which brings together local authorities, business groups and the transport industry to speak with one voice on the region’s transport needs.
It follows a request from government in December 2018 for regions to agree their priorities for improving the Major Road Network (MRN), which comprises the country’s busiest and most economically important local authority ‘A’ roads.
Shortlisted schemes for the South East were assessed against a range of national criteria as well as Transport for the South East’s strategic objectives for the region, which focus on sustainable economic growth, improved quality of life and the environment.
The final ‘top ten’ list of schemes includes the replacement of a vital cross-city link in Southampton, a major upgrade of a busy junction on the M2 in Kent, improvements to the A320 which links Guildford and Woking with the M25 and a package of schemes to renew and improve the A259 coast road through West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.
Cllr Keith Glazier, chair of Transport for the South East, said: “A high-quality, reliable transport network is absolutely critical to our region’s continued success, so it’s vital we make a strong case for ongoing investment on behalf of people and businesses in the South East.
“The schemes we have put forward would, if funded, mean better and more reliable journeys for road users and help reduce urban congestion, speed up journey times and support new housing and jobs.
“By speaking with one voice to influence where and how money is spent in our region, Transport for the South East is already making a real difference for the 7.5m people who live and work in the South East.”
Responding to today’s news that the A320 north corridor has been identified as a priority road scheme for the south east, Surrey County Council’s Deputy Leader Colin Kemp said:
“The A320 north corridor scheme is important for Runnymede borough’s local plan and also to increase capacity of the local road network which will support housing growth in Runnymede, Woking and Surrey Heath.
“We have carried out in depth studies to prove the need for this, so it’s very positive that this scheme is being put forward by Transport for the South East as one of the priorities in the region.”
The scheme would make improvements along the A320 between Ottershaw and the M25, including possible changes at the following junctions:
· Ottershaw roundabout
· St Peter’s Hospital roundabout
· M25 junction 11.
The scheme is supported by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Its Head of Transport, Kevin Travers, said: “The priority given to the A320 is greatly welcome and follows the LEP’s £125,000 contribution to local councils to prepare the business case. Not only will it increase capacity on the route itself but by doing so, is the lynchpin to unlocking land for the development of 3,687 new homes across seven sites, including Longcross Garden Village.
“Transport solutions and affordable housing will help close the gap between residents’ skills and those required by local businesses, enabling residents with the desired skills to live near their workplace and have easy access to employment sites. The LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy places issues around place, housing and connectivity under the spotlight to help the region develop further to the benefit of all."