A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Thu Sep 24, 2020 09:12

fras wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 08:10
Indeed, but then one must consider how many of those 30k on the A358 are going to Exeter and avoiding the A303 because it is so time-consuming. If its a large percentage, then Jn 25 needs to be much more than just a signalised roundabout. And if a lot of that 12k going via the existing A303 transfer to the better quality road, even more so.
The removal of the free flow slips at J25 is going to cause problems for sure, HE's own figures show it will be overcapacity the day it opens. I replied to the consultation saying that the road should be built so they can be added easily and land needs to be safeguarded. History suggests it won't be though

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by jackal » Thu Sep 24, 2020 14:34

Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:58
When the A358 scheme is complete the Southfields-Honiton length will lose trunk road status and revert to Devon County Council.
I recall reading an HE document a few years ago that said Southfields-Honiton would not be detrunked on completion of the A358 scheme. When challenged I have been unable to produce said document, so you may wish to take it with a pinch of salt ;)
RichardA35 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 07:45
SteveA30 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 07:39
Do Devon CC still have their scheme to upgrade the A303/A30, with S2/1 sections?
I believe it is still on the table but AFAICS does not feature in the priority LLM or MRN schemes for the SW upto 2025 (and may not be part of the MRN after the A358 goes ahead?)
Would it be eligible for such schemes? As a trunk road they were certainly trying to get it into RIS2: https://www.devon.gov.uk/a30-blackdownhills/

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by RichardA35 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 15:11

jackal wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 14:34
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:58
When the A358 scheme is complete the Southfields-Honiton length will lose trunk road status and revert to Devon County Council.
I recall reading an HE document a few years ago that said Southfields-Honiton would not be detrunked on completion of the A358 scheme. When challenged I have been unable to produce said document, so you may wish to take it with a pinch of salt ;)
RichardA35 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 07:45
SteveA30 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 07:39
Do Devon CC still have their scheme to upgrade the A303/A30, with S2/1 sections?
I believe it is still on the table but AFAICS does not feature in the priority LLM or MRN schemes for the SW upto 2025 (and may not be part of the MRN after the A358 goes ahead?)
Would it be eligible for such schemes? As a trunk road they were certainly trying to get it into RIS2: https://www.devon.gov.uk/a30-blackdownhills/
I suppose I was thinking more into the future with a detrunked A303 post A358 improvements. Certainly unless Devon promote it (much as Cornwall did with Temple and get some funding moved over from DfT - which is unlikely as MRN & LLM are full of other priorities) it is destined to wither away within the trunk roads programme.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Jack » Thu Sep 24, 2020 17:44

Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:58
Jack wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 21:27
Are they hoping that people give up with the final section of the A303 entirely and just make the detour to Taunton before hopping on an extended M5 journey to the rest of Devon and Cornwall, so they don't have to complete it anymore?
Yes. The Blackdown Hills are a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and upgrading the A303 to dual carriageway is now extremely unlikely. The A358 dualling is being pursued because it is easier politically, has fewer environmental problems and provides a better return on investment.

Personally, I'd rather see the A303/A30 dualled between M3 and M5, rather than combining all traffic for the south west on the M5 south of Taunton, but the decision has been made. To be clear, it's not that the A303 will be done later: the A358 is being done instead, and the A303 between Southfields and Honiton won't be dualled at all. When the A358 scheme is complete the Southfields-Honiton length will lose trunk road status and revert to Devon County Council.
Why must this country insist on not only not having but continuously avoiding having a direct route from London and the East Country to Exeter and beyond?

I really hope we're just reading into this too much, because I seriously question the competence of those in charge if they think people will actually make the 11 mile detour to Taunton on what will most probably be a congested route from the start, then finishing the extended journey on the M5 which will also become more populated and thus more susceptible to congestion post A358 upgrade, not to mention, if in some bizarre alternate reality the majority (75% or more) of Devon-bound traffic does switch to using the A358, that will totally overwhelm it and make the upgrade pointless. I genuinely hope this A358 upgrade goes absolutely t*ts up and ends up being a waste of time so they'll have no other option but to dual the A303 the rest of the way, and then complete the Honiton Bypass to meet the new dual alignment of the A303 (or have the new dual alignment merge into the Honiton Bypass at some point in it's route if it completely avoids the current A303/A30 alignment).
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by DavidBrown » Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:03

Jack wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 17:44
I really hope we're just reading into this too much, because I seriously question the competence of those in charge if they think people will actually make the 11 mile detour to Taunton on what will most probably be a congested route from the start, then finishing the extended journey on the M5 which will also become more populated and thus more susceptible to congestion post A358 upgrade, not to mention, if in some bizarre alternate reality the majority (75% or more) of Devon-bound traffic does switch to using the A358, that will totally overwhelm it and make the upgrade pointless. I genuinely hope this A358 upgrade goes absolutely t*ts up and ends up being a waste of time so they'll have no other option but to dual the A303 the rest of the way, and then complete the Honiton Bypass to meet the new dual alignment of the A303 (or have the new dual alignment merge into the Honiton Bypass at some point in it's route if it completely avoids the current A303/A30 alignment).
I've said it before and I'll say it again - a huge chunk of Devon and Somerset is not served are not served even slightly by the Honiton-Ilminster stretch of the A303. The A358 upgrade will have far bigger benefits for far more people, particularly in west Somerset and north Devon. Far fewer places will miss out by the main route not going via Honiton.

Plus bear in mind that the A303 in its current form won't disappear from the face of the planet, so the option for anyone to use it is still very much there. And if it does get the S2+1 upgrade (which I also back, btw) I think it is the perfect in between solution of upgrading what is undoubtedly a sub-standard stretch of road without causing unnecessary damage to the Blackdown Hills.

And for all those thinking that the A303/A30 will become the perfect route if the Honiton-Ilminster stretch was dualled, go and have a look at M5 J29 for one minute and see if you can spot any issues. :roll:

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Jack » Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:58

DavidBrown wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:03
I've said it before and I'll say it again - a huge chunk of Devon and Somerset is not served are not served even slightly by the Honiton-Ilminster stretch of the A303. The A358 upgrade will have far bigger benefits for far more people, particularly in west Somerset and north Devon. Far fewer places will miss out by the main route not going via Honiton.
Really? Seems like the only place the upgraded A358 will go is Taunton and M5 northbound, which granted is an important route in itself, but the A303 from here goes on to server Exeter and is most definitely a route into most of Devon and certainly the way to Cornwall. Considering it's on the main route between London and Cornwall, I'd be inclined to say it's a bit more important than the A358 which takes some people to Taunton and the north :roll: . In any case, yes this link should be D2, but the A303 should be D2 first.
DavidBrown wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:03
Plus bear in mind that the A303 in its current form won't disappear from the face of the planet, so the option for anyone to use it is still very much there. And if it does get the S2+1 upgrade (which I also back, btw) I think it is the perfect in between solution of upgrading what is undoubtedly a sub-standard stretch of road without causing unnecessary damage to the Blackdown Hills.
This is basically the mindset of the people who build our road network. 'We don't want to make the tough decision so we're going with the in-between that is better than nothing but is still not ideal so hopefully people are happy for us and we look like we're doing something about this horribly low-quality stretch of road that is meant to be a trunk route to the West Country'. That's kinda how bypasses fail and money is wasted mate. When an upgrade actually does go ahead, it should be done properly the first time instead of being half-arsed and then having to come back 10 years later and finishing it off, wasting money and time in the process.
DavidBrown wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:03
And for all those thinking that the A303/A30 will become the perfect route if the Honiton-Ilminster stretch was dualled, go and have a look at M5 J29 for one minute and see if you can spot any issues. :roll:
Of course, J29 is... not the best to say the least, but that's not a reason to not improve the route. Imo the junction should be rebuilt entirely as a GSJ for both the M5 and A30 and instead of the A30 multiplexing with the M5/A38, a new road connecting the two ends of the multiplex should be built and traffic bound further into Devon or Cornwall can avoid the M5 altogether, which will relieve traffic on this part of the M5/A38. Granted it's not the easiest build ever as Exeter is, you know, right behind J29 but it's definitely possible, especially considering you'd want to be going out of Exeter to pick up the next part of the A30.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:25

Jack wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:58
Really? Seems like the only place the upgraded A358 will go is Taunton and M5 northbound, which granted is an important route in itself, but the A303 from here goes on to server Exeter and is most definitely a route into most of Devon and certainly the way to Cornwall. Considering it's on the main route between London and Cornwall, I'd be inclined to say it's a bit more important than the A358 which takes some people to Taunton and the north :roll: . In any case, yes this link should be D2, but the A303 should be D2 first.
I don't think you understand the strategic importance of the A358, which is fair enough as it isn't obvious from a map. The route is very important locally, linking the two largest towns in the county. It is also the main route towards Bristol and the north from the south of Somerset, east Devon and west Dorset. And it is an important link from north Devon and west Somerset towards the east of the country.

This is why it is so much busier than the A303 over the Blackdown hills, and far, far more worthy of spending limited funding on. What percentage of the traffic do you think is going from London to Cornwall?
Last edited by Herned on Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:25

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by thatapanydude » Thu Sep 24, 2020 21:03

Herned wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:25
Jack wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:58
Really? Seems like the only place the upgraded A358 will go is Taunton and M5 northbound, which granted is an important route in itself, but the A303 from here goes on to server Exeter and is most definitely a route into most of Devon and certainly the way to Cornwall. Considering it's on the main route between London and Cornwall, I'd be inclined to say it's a bit more important than the A358 which takes some people to Taunton and the north :roll: . In any case, yes this link should be D2, but the A303 should be D2 first.
I don't think you understand the strategic importance of the A358, which is fair enough as it isn't obvious from a map. The route is very important locally, linking the two largest towns in the county. It is also the main route towards Bristol and the north from the south of Somerset, east Devon and west Dorset. And it is an important link from north Devon and west Somerset towards the east of the country.

This is why it is so much busier than the A303 over the Blackdown hills, and far, far more worthy of spending limited funding on. What percentage of the traffic do you think is going from London to Cornwall?
I agree the A358 is a strategic route but certainly not for London to Exeter more a regional route for Devon and Dorset. In this situation upgrading the A358 can serve as a short to medium term solution encouraging more Exeter traffic to use the M5 at Taunton whilst giving the A303 down to Honition some breathing space to take on extra capacity before it needs D2 in 10/15 years or so.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Jack » Thu Sep 24, 2020 22:40

Herned wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:25
Jack wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 18:58
Really? Seems like the only place the upgraded A358 will go is Taunton and M5 northbound, which granted is an important route in itself, but the A303 from here goes on to server Exeter and is most definitely a route into most of Devon and certainly the way to Cornwall. Considering it's on the main route between London and Cornwall, I'd be inclined to say it's a bit more important than the A358 which takes some people to Taunton and the north :roll: . In any case, yes this link should be D2, but the A303 should be D2 first.
I don't think you understand the strategic importance of the A358, which is fair enough as it isn't obvious from a map. The route is very important locally, linking the two largest towns in the county. It is also the main route towards Bristol and the north from the south of Somerset, east Devon and west Dorset. And it is an important link from north Devon and west Somerset towards the east of the country.

This is why it is so much busier than the A303 over the Blackdown hills, and far, far more worthy of spending limited funding on. What percentage of the traffic do you think is going from London to Cornwall?
No, I'm well aware of how important the A358 is, and I said myself that it should ideally be D2. But the more regionally important route should be of adequate capacity first before we jump to improving local links, especially when we start saying the regional traffic should hog up the local routes as well, 'because we don't want to bother dualling your route so you're gonna have to make life harder for the locals'. I don't have an issue with the idea, in fact I agree with it, such a link should be D2, but I disagree with the motive behind it, which from the government's side is clearly 'we don't want to go through the trouble of dualling through the blackdowns so we're doing this instead, please like us and praise us for doing something with this horribly inadequate section of the road network'.

Encouraging the regional traffic to use the new link will cause problems in it's own right and along with the inadequate J25 will just lead to the same problems the A303 currently has. What's next, are you going to upgrade the A358 to D3? D4? Or will you take the more common sense route and suggest that the mainline route should be upgraded instead so regional traffic doesn't use the route intended for local access? It's time to stop kicking that can further down the road because eventually someone's going to have to do it.

In the winter then maybe you have a point, but in the summer I'll think you'll find quite a lot of A303 traffic is bound for deeper Devon and Cornwall... People want the route dualled for a reason... Local routes with little regional importance tend to stay as S2 and don't get upgraded to D2 throughout half their length. Not to mention, Stonehenge and other sections of the A303 get badly congested in the summer for a reason, part of it being because of the remaining S2. There's a video on YouTube I like watching now and then; it's a realtime video of a guy driving down the A303 to Honiton in October-time I believe. I couldn't believe it when the journey only took 100 minutes (granted it would probably be another 15-20 mins to Exeter, but even so), I was sure the times I've been down it it took several hours. The reason being of course is during summer the A303 has greatly elevated levels of traffic that get congested due to the remaining S2 on the route, among other inadequacies that would be solved by dualling. I'll also point out that even in October when that video was filmed, congestion does form in certain parts of the S2 sections, so I don't think the A303 is as quiet as you believe even outside of the West Country season.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Vierwielen » Thu Sep 24, 2020 23:03

Herned wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 19:25
This is why it is so much busier than the A303 over the Blackdown hills, and far, far more worthy of spending limited funding on. What percentage of the traffic do you think is going from London to Cornwall?
Any traffic from south of the M3 has the option of going northwards up to the M4, belting along the M4 and then down the M5 or taking the slower route of the M3-A303-A358 to pick up the M5. Every time that the A303 is improved, the M3-A303 route becomes more attractive and so traffic is pulled off the M4.

I used both Google Maps and viaMichelin to look at teh best routes for Farnborough to Exeret. Neither gave me the A358 and both gave me the A303 as the quickest.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by SteveA30 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 23:30

A lot will depend on how Satnavs respond to the new A358. They may insist that the A303/A30 is quickest. From my quirky perspective, a more congested M5 south of Taunton could result in overspilling to the A38 and B3181. Cullompton has a planned link from J28 down to the south end of the town, which would bypass the town traffic lights. A northern town bypass already exists which is very useful. It is for development of course but serves this purpose as well.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Fri Sep 25, 2020 07:32

Jack wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 22:40
No, I'm well aware of how important the A358 is, and I said myself that it should ideally be D2. But the more regionally important route should be of adequate capacity first before we jump to improving local links.....
so I don't think the A303 is as quiet as you believe even outside of the West Country season.
How are you defining more important? The A358 is much the busier road, the traffic statistics available on this website show that.

I'm fully aware of how busy or not the A303 is, being local to the area and using it very regularly. I have often disagreed with people who claim on this site that the A303 is only busy in the summer. But when there is only so much funding available, and capacity to build the roads, we should be improving the busiest roads first, which means the A358 is higher priority

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Sep 25, 2020 09:20

jackal wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 14:34
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:58
When the A358 scheme is complete the Southfields-Honiton length will lose trunk road status and revert to Devon County Council.
I recall reading an HE document a few years ago that said Southfields-Honiton would not be detrunked on completion of the A358 scheme. When challenged I have been unable to produce said document, so you may wish to take it with a pinch of salt ;)
I note with interest, on re-reading the Expressway document, that the Expressway was A303/A358 to Basingstoke/Taunton not A303/A30 Basingstoke/Exeter!

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Sep 25, 2020 09:27

Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 23:03
I used both Google Maps and viaMichelin to look at the best routes for Farnborough to Exeter. Neither gave me the A358 and both gave me the A303 as the quickest.
Agreed...

Although on a recent trip to Plymouth I followed the A30 all the way to Exeter - mostly because I'd never driven large bits of that route. Now I've ticked them off, I won't need to do that again ;-)

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by fchd » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:20

I live in Cornwall and got this way maybe half a dozen times per year.

I now use the M5-A358-A303 every single time ahead of turning off the M5 at Honiton and going through the Blackdown Hills.

Yes it may be 10 miles longer, but in my experience the travel time shows very little difference, but going via J25 & the A358 is more consistent than the shorter alternative. It's also a lot easier drive albeit far less attractive scenically.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Stevie D » Fri Sep 25, 2020 20:15

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 09:20
I note with interest, on re-reading the Expressway document, that the Expressway was A303/A358 to Basingstoke/Taunton not A303/A30 Basingstoke/Exeter!
Well, yes. Because Basingstoke is the nearest town to the start of the expressway route at M3 J8, and Taunton is the nearest town to the end of the expressway route at M5 J25. It doesn't run to Exeter, in just the same way that it doesn't run to London or Plymouth and so isn't called the London to Plymouth expressway, even though it may well become the recommended route for traffic making that journey.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Jack » Fri Sep 25, 2020 21:50

fchd wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:20
I live in Cornwall and got this way maybe half a dozen times per year.

I now use the M5-A358-A303 every single time ahead of turning off the M5 at Honiton and going through the Blackdown Hills.

Yes it may be 10 miles longer, but in my experience the travel time shows very little difference, but going via J25 & the A358 is more consistent than the shorter alternative. It's also a lot easier drive albeit far less attractive scenically.
But if the A303/A30 was upgraded to dual throughout and so eliminated the S2-related congestion and slowdowns, that would categorically be the faster route, no? The laws of physics suggest that eliminating congestion, the route with less miles will be faster.

Also, the M5-A358 route is much more than 10 miles longer - Google suggests Taunton is 28 miles from Exeter, which if you add the roughly 10 miles extra that you're on the A358 for to get to the A303 (both the M5 and A358 are almost straight lines on these sections and make very little distance towards London on their own, which does little to mitigate the extra miles), suggests that it's a nearly 40 mile detour. If we take off what little distance they do make towards London, it's probably about 30-35 miles. The fact that such a detour has a 'very little difference' in journey time is another testament to how bad a condition the A303/A30 is in and how much journey time would be slashed by a fully dual A303/A30 route from the M3 to Exeter.

I just think trying to make the A358 which is a big detour the main route over the direct route which unlike in said example does already exist is a 'use the M25 to get from Dover to Portsmouth' situation; it's bringing traffic onto a route that should never have to deal with said traffic and just unnecessarily adds to the traffic burden.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Fri Sep 25, 2020 22:21

Jack wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 21:50
Also, the M5-A358 route is much more than 10 miles longer - Google suggests Taunton is 28 miles from Exeter, which if you add the roughly 10 miles extra that you're on the A358 for to get to the A303 (both the M5 and A358 are almost straight lines on these sections and make very little distance towards London on their own, which does little to mitigate the extra miles), suggests that it's a nearly 40 mile detour. If we take off what little distance they do make towards London, it's probably about 30-35 miles. The fact that such a detour has a 'very little difference' in journey time is another testament to how bad a condition the A303/A30 is in and how much journey time would be slashed by a fully dual A303/A30 route from the M3 to Exeter.
40 mile detour? No, nothing like. If you go to Google maps and ask for directions from Exeter to South Petherton, it gives the options of A30/303 as 37 miles, or 46 miles via M5/A358. The journey times are 3 minutes different. If in a theoretical future it was possible to travel the whole distance along both routes at 70mph, it would be 7 minutes quicker via the A303, so not really significant if you are doing London to St Austell

In an ideal world both routes would be dualled, but the busier route should always take precedence

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by skiddaw05 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 00:01

To me getting the A358 upgraded (first) seems the logical thing to do. For a start there's far less of it to dual compared with the A303/A30, and it would also be able to serve Exeter & Cornwall as well as North Devon. The A303/A30 would only do the former.

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