Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Truvelo » Sun Aug 09, 2020 23:56

SteveA30 wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 22:02
Friday August 7 2020 on the A303 at Sparkford, Ham Hill in the Blackdowns and the A30 near Monkton. Gives a taste of what they are like on a summers day.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtd-Pm ... subscriber
In the video it appears no one has done anything to that abandoned cottage on Ham Hill. In another thread someone mentioned it being for sale.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by SteveA30 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:13

The old Hillside Cafe, abandoned for many years now. Blight caused by uncertainty over any new road, made it impossible for owners to invest. I don't know if HE bought it or not. There was a petrol station in the foreground, long demolished. Lovely views of the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Mon Aug 10, 2020 13:03

Video shows plenty using the A303 route. Drivers are going to need plenty of incentives to go via Taunton and the M5 in future. I suspect satnav systems won't/dont help as they would naturally direct drivers that way too.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Wed Nov 24, 2021 17:18

Finishing the dualling would be a more realistic aim now, followed by grade separating the remaining at grade junctions and closing gaps on the older dualled sections to bring them up to the standard of the rest of the road.

Thats not even considering substandard dualling and the lack of a LAR along large stretches, even some of the newer ones,,!
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by solocle » Wed Nov 24, 2021 17:57

Richardf wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 17:18
Finishing the dualling would be a more realistic aim now, followed by grade separating the remaining at grade junctions and closing gaps on the older dualled sections to bring them up to the standard of the rest of the road.

Thats not even considering substandard dualling and the lack of a LAR along large stretches, even some of the newer ones,,!
Indeed - Ilminster to Ilchester being a biggy.
25E08993-EFF5-45C0-A793-4922E9BE8C0A.jpeg
Ironic that the single carriageway Ilminster bypass has for cyclists, well, a bypass, but many dualled sections do not.

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by ajuk » Thu Nov 25, 2021 16:37

I don't understand how they have never got rid of the sharp bend here.

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Thu Nov 25, 2021 17:04

ajuk wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 16:37
I don't understand how they have never got rid of the sharp bend here.


People have said terrain is the issue, but more i think for dualling and making an expressway, which would be tricky. A smaller realignment to even out the bend as an s2 or s2+1 might be easier to achieve, maybe by going outside of the current bend to make it gentler?

The old D2 plans cut the corner off here which would have required some engineering.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Thu Nov 25, 2021 17:14

solocle wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 17:57
Richardf wrote:
Wed Nov 24, 2021 17:18
Finishing the dualling would be a more realistic aim now, followed by grade separating the remaining at grade junctions and closing gaps on the older dualled sections to bring them up to the standard of the rest of the road.

Thats not even considering substandard dualling and the lack of a LAR along large stretches, even some of the newer ones,,!
Indeed - Ilminster to Ilchester being a biggy.
25E08993-EFF5-45C0-A793-4922E9BE8C0A.jpeg
Ironic that the single carriageway Ilminster bypass has for cyclists, well, a bypass, but many dualled sections do not.
Don't get me started on Ilchester to South Petherton section. Modern upgrade yes. But; Odd design, with good GSJs, at grade crossroads and a roundabout for the busiest junction of the lot!

Building it offline and keeping the old road for local access would have removed most of the junctions, and there was/is plenty of space at Cartgate to grade separate the A3088 junction
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by solocle » Thu Nov 25, 2021 23:27

Richardf wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 17:04
ajuk wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 16:37
I don't understand how they have never got rid of the sharp bend here.


People have said terrain is the issue, but more i think for dualling and making an expressway, which would be tricky. A smaller realignment to even out the bend as an s2 or s2+1 might be easier to achieve, maybe by going outside of the current bend to make it gentler?

The old D2 plans cut the corner off here which would have required some engineering.
I mean, that is a relatively unimportant part of the A303. AADF around 20,000, while South Petherton is 36,000, a significant amount of traffic headed for the A358.

I was rather looking forward to it last time I was there (same ride as the Ilminster photo). Alas, the irony of being held up by a sodding tractor wasn't lost on me.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Herned » Fri Nov 26, 2021 16:47

ajuk wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 16:37
I don't understand how they have never got rid of the sharp bend here.
It's been overlooked because there have been plans for bigger schemes to improve the whole section, so they wouldn't want to risk wasting money on a minor scheme which then gets bypassed. Now of course the whole section is being bypassed by the A358 dualling, so there is less need to improve that section (in theory)

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:41

Herned wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 16:47
ajuk wrote:
Thu Nov 25, 2021 16:37
I don't understand how they have never got rid of the sharp bend here.
It's been overlooked because there have been plans for bigger schemes to improve the whole section, so they wouldn't want to risk wasting money on a minor scheme which then gets bypassed. Now of course the whole section is being bypassed by the A358 dualling, so there is less need to improve that section (in theory)
There were plans to improve the Devon section of the A30 up to the start of the A303, but of course this bit is in Somerset and they haven't reciprocated. In many ways the Somerset section of the A303 in the Blackdowns needs it more than the following bit of A30 in Devon does! You would think some small improvements like widening or easing out bends could be done now dualling is well and truly off the table?
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Herned » Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:09

Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:41
There were plans to improve the Devon section of the A30 up to the start of the A303, but of course this bit is in Somerset and they haven't reciprocated. In many ways the Somerset section of the A303 in the Blackdowns needs it more than the following bit of A30 in Devon does! You would think some small improvements like widening or easing out bends could be done now dualling is well and truly off the table?
As a Somerset resident I think the county council are absolutely useless when it comes to transport... they don't seem to have any strategy or wish lists, and it's not like they spend their energy on public transport either. The only roads built in the last couple of decades have been development-led. There's far more pressing needs than the A303 too, like the A39 in Washford

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:30

Herned wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:09
Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:41
There were plans to improve the Devon section of the A30 up to the start of the A303, but of course this bit is in Somerset and they haven't reciprocated. In many ways the Somerset section of the A303 in the Blackdowns needs it more than the following bit of A30 in Devon does! You would think some small improvements like widening or easing out bends could be done now dualling is well and truly off the table?
As a Somerset resident I think the county council are absolutely useless when it comes to transport... they don't seem to have any strategy or wish lists, and it's not like they spend their energy on public transport either. The only roads built in the last couple of decades have been development-led. There's far more pressing needs than the A303 too, like the A39 in Washford
The A37 in Somerset isn't great either, especially south of Yeovil and up towards Bristol. The Dorset bit is great. But once you get into Somerset..... :oops:
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Phil » Sat Nov 27, 2021 14:11

Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:30
Herned wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:09
Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:41
There were plans to improve the Devon section of the A30 up to the start of the A303, but of course this bit is in Somerset and they haven't reciprocated. In many ways the Somerset section of the A303 in the Blackdowns needs it more than the following bit of A30 in Devon does! You would think some small improvements like widening or easing out bends could be done now dualling is well and truly off the table?
As a Somerset resident I think the county council are absolutely useless when it comes to transport... they don't seem to have any strategy or wish lists, and it's not like they spend their energy on public transport either. The only roads built in the last couple of decades have been development-led. There's far more pressing needs than the A303 too, like the A39 in Washford
The A37 in Somerset isn't great either, especially south of Yeovil and up towards Bristol. The Dorset bit is great. But once you get into Somerset..... :oops:
Some of that is an accident of history where between Dorchester and Yeovil the A37 runs mostly along the top of a ridge but all the settlements are off to either side in valleys meaning that there is relatively little to slow traffic.

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Sat Nov 27, 2021 17:26

Phil wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 14:11
Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:30
Herned wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:09

As a Somerset resident I think the county council are absolutely useless when it comes to transport... they don't seem to have any strategy or wish lists, and it's not like they spend their energy on public transport either. The only roads built in the last couple of decades have been development-led. There's far more pressing needs than the A303 too, like the A39 in Washford
The A37 in Somerset isn't great either, especially south of Yeovil and up towards Bristol. The Dorset bit is great. But once you get into Somerset..... :oops:
Some of that is an accident of history where between Dorchester and Yeovil the A37 runs mostly along the top of a ridge but all the settlements are off to either side in valleys meaning that there is relatively little to slow traffic.
True, but its more down to the fact that the then DCC spent a lot of money back in the 90s improving the road, while Somerset have done the bare minimum, hence that awfull section south of Yeovil, not far from the Dorset boundary.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Phil » Sun Nov 28, 2021 18:14

Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 17:26
Phil wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 14:11
Richardf wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 12:30


The A37 in Somerset isn't great either, especially south of Yeovil and up towards Bristol. The Dorset bit is great. But once you get into Somerset..... :oops:
Some of that is an accident of history where between Dorchester and Yeovil the A37 runs mostly along the top of a ridge but all the settlements are off to either side in valleys meaning that there is relatively little to slow traffic.
True, but its more down to the fact that the then DCC spent a lot of money back in the 90s improving the road, while Somerset have done the bare minimum, hence that awfull section south of Yeovil, not far from the Dorset boundary.
Sorry you lost me.

If the road is already (1) pretty straight and (2) does not pass through any centres of population then how can it be 'improved' to any significant degree?

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Herned » Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:11

Take a look on streetview. The section north of the A356 junction has been significantly modernised by widening, straightening and adding climbing and turning lanes. Much of that section looks like a new build rather than something which has probably existed since the bronze age

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by SouthWest Philip » Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:49

Herned wrote:
Sun Nov 28, 2021 19:11
Take a look on streetview. The section north of the A356 junction has been significantly modernised by widening, straightening and adding climbing and turning lanes. Much of that section looks like a new build rather than something which has probably existed since the bronze age
The section immediately north of the A356 was previously unclassified as the A37 did a dogleg via Maiden Newton. So that section, at least, may have been improved more than once?

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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by Richardf » Mon Nov 29, 2021 00:02

Most of the a37 route south of Shepton Mallet follows the line of roman roads, with a few minor deviations.

The section you mention was the last part of the current A37 to actually become the A37, but there was clearly something there before that and was probably just a track or lane at the time the roads were first classified. Routing the A37 via Maiden Newton would have been a logical move at the time, presumably following the previous turnpike route.

Yes the road has had several improvements during its lifetime. But the 90s rebuilding was the most significant.
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Re: Why the A303 will probably never become a motorway and won't be fully dualled for a long time

Post by ajuk » Fri Dec 03, 2021 01:11

Also, the A358 has a bridge over the A303, but for some reason traffic wanting to stay on it has to follow the new spur down to the A303 interchange with it for no reason, then then pass over it on a bridge that should have allowed it to avoid it all because a short stretch of the old A358 conveniently already there has been blocked off, why do that?

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