The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.
A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling
From Allan Keith Tingey
SOUTHERN LINK ROAD.
Right from the outset I have advocated that there should be a continuous link of the existing A303 from the fuel station on Camel Hill through to join Howell Hill. During construction this will maintain two way traffic, after construction it will become a local road but also, significantly, it will have the advantage of providing a parallel route for traffic diverted from the dualled road when it has been closed for whatever reason. Great play has been made by Highways England on the A30, which is due to be constructed at the same time as this project, that the existing A30 (with modifications as necessary) will be retained as a parallel local road. Whilst this road represents extra cost for its construction, there are several areas of savings to be made. No Bailey bridge, no haul roads, no separate field access tracks, no compensation to existing trading outlets, substantially all of the construction work will take place on the north side of the existing trafficked A303, etc..
JUNCTIONS AT DOWNHEAD AND CAMEL CROSS
These are not required for local traffic. Highways England declare that the A303 will be upgraded to an Expressway. Why, on a new construction only 5.5 Kilometres long would unwanted junctions be included when in the future they will be eliminated. The removal of these junctions can be overcome by my next suggestion.
I recognise that the title for this project is A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling but note that the dualling is purely connecting to existing dualled road at Sparkford and Podimore. (Why not Sparkford to Podimore?) There will inevitably be a link formed between Podimore roundabout and the B3151 adjacent to RNAS Yeovilton serving the base and the Fleet Air Arm Museum. This should be constructed now to additionally be a viable route from the A303, along the B3151 and joining the existing retained A303 and the Southern Link, described above, for traffic diverted from the dualled carriageway. (In 1994 at a similar Inspector appraisal, a proposal similar to the above, outside the remit of the scheme, was put forward and proved to be one of a limited number of issues promoted by the Inspector).
The proposed layout can be simplified to the benefit of all users by making the on/off slip roads more compact to the existing roundabout, saving on land take. It is not acceptable to have the NMU's using the same underpass as vehicles, including heavy goods vehicles.
The DCO submission asserts that the A303 will be maintained operational for the construction of the dualled carriageways save for minor closures overnight, essentially. As the vast majority of the new construction is to take place on the north side of the A303 why are the principal compounds sited on the south side? Personnel, plant, material movements will have to traverse the still open two lane traffic on the existing A303, this does not appear sensible.
The western end of the site is relatively straight forward to maintain traffic on the existing A303 whilst the new eastbound carriageway is constructed and then traffic will transfer to that. The eastern end near Camel Hill Farm is very problematic due to width and levels. It is not clear how, even with suggested temporary link roads that the maintenance of two way traffic flow can be maintained. The prescribed diversion routes are both lengthy and will inevitably cause traffic to seek out alternatives to the detriment of towns and villages over a wide area. The use of the Southern Link Road described above will circumvent these problems.