A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

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jackal
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A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by jackal » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19

The RIS2 document listed "A303 Phase 2 upgrade" in the RIS3 pipeline. This was unclear as to which schemes were included.

A HE webpage now seems to confirm that, after Stonehenge and Sparkford are complete, there are five remaining schemes on the A303:

- South Petherton to Southfields
- Chicklade Bottom to Mere
- Wylye to Stockton Wood
- Cartgate Roundabout
- Podimore Roundabout

It doesn't strictly speaking say that these will all be delivered as part of Phase 2 (some could be 'Phase 3'), but the way it is presented makes that seem likely. While dualling the remaining sections is fairly obvious it is interesting to see that Cartgate and Podimore are still planned as standalone schemes.

Also of note is the A30 Chiverton being bundled with these ("A303 / A358 / A30 corridor improvements").

https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/ ... rovements/

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Mon Sep 21, 2020 13:19

jackal wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19
The RIS2 document listed "A303 Phase 2 upgrade" in the RIS3 pipeline. This was unclear as to which schemes were included.
Good news obviously, but as the RIS1 schemes are thus far vapourware I'll take it with a pinch of salt

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by KeithW » Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:17

Herned wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 13:19

Good news obviously, but as the RIS1 schemes are thus far vapourware I'll take it with a pinch of salt
Do you mean RIS2 as that is the list of schemes now under preparation and construction.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... 0-2025.pdf
At least one is underway - The A19 widening between Norton and Wynard - I drove through the work zone yesterday,
Last edited by KeithW on Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:20, edited 1 time in total.

Herned
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:19

KeithW wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:17
Do you mean RIS2 as that is the list of schemes now under preparation and construction.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... 0-2025.pdf
At least one is underway - The A9 widening between Norton and Wynard - I drove through the work zone yesterday,
No, I meant the RIS1 schemes for the A303, none of which have so far moved a single grain of earth

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by KeithW » Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:34

Herned wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:19
KeithW wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:17
Do you mean RIS2 as that is the list of schemes now under preparation and construction.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... 0-2025.pdf
At least one is underway - The A9 widening between Norton and Wynard - I drove through the work zone yesterday,
No, I meant the RIS1 schemes for the A303, none of which have so far moved a single grain of earth
You may be aware that the particular scheme in question turned into a political hot potato, especially regarding the Stonehenge section and that the arguments are still rumbling on. This scheme will need a Development Consent order so I am afraid opposition from groups such as the National Trust and Highways England cannot be simply ignored.

For the latest see
https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/a303-stonehenge/

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by RichardA35 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 16:19

KeithW wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:34
Herned wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:19
KeithW wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 14:17
Do you mean RIS2 as that is the list of schemes now under preparation and construction.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... 0-2025.pdf
At least one is underway - The A9 widening between Norton and Wynard - I drove through the work zone yesterday,
No, I meant the RIS1 schemes for the A303, none of which have so far moved a single grain of earth
You may be aware that the particular scheme in question turned into a political hot potato, especially regarding the Stonehenge section and that the arguments are still rumbling on. This scheme will need a Development Consent order so I am afraid opposition from groups such as the National Trust and Highways England cannot be simply ignored.

For the latest see
https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/a303-stonehenge/
At Stonehenge it was well known that it was going to be a controversial scheme and the DCO process is well known so what excuse can there be?
Had HE lost all the people who were dealing with it the last time round who knew the issues and the NT red lines?
However RIS1 "committed" schemes also included Sparkford to Ilchester and A358 Taunton to Southfields neither of which have started work.
I suggest there was too much optimism in HE RIS1 and like historic roads programmes it will be an under achiever.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Chris5156 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 20:02

RichardA35 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 16:19
However RIS1 "committed" schemes also included Sparkford to Ilchester and A358 Taunton to Southfields neither of which have started work.
Those two specific schemes were among those bumped from RIS1 to RIS2, and now appear in the 2020-2025 list.
I suggest there was too much optimism in HE RIS1 and like historic roads programmes it will be an under achiever.
And this is the exact reason it happened!

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Micro The Maniac » Mon Sep 21, 2020 20:18

Interesting that the website states:
In 2014, the Government – as part of its first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) - announced that it wanted to unlock economic growth in the South West by upgrading the A303, A358 and A30 in Cornwall. It wanted to create high quality dual carriageways, transforming journeys, and better connecting the region with London and the South East.
Note the backpeddling... the 2016 document quite clearly titles:
Creating an Expressway to the South West
The case for the A303/A358 Corridor
https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.co ... C%2023.pdf

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Sep 21, 2020 22:22

My forecast is that nothingmuch will happen unless the Lib Dems appear to be gaining (or in the case of Yeovil regaining) ground, in which case money will miraculously appear and the government will take the credit. (Am I being cynical?)

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Jack » Wed Sep 23, 2020 21:27

I still don't really understand why the A358 is being given upgrade priority over the rest of the S2 A303/A30. I'm not denying that the A358 from the A303 to the M5 northbound is a busy corridor but surely completing the main route from London and the East Country to the West Country takes priority? It seems like a case of kicking the hard titanium can that is building a D2 throughout the blackdowns further down the road and upgrading another road in less need of it because 'hey at least we're being seen as doing something in this highly undeveloped and frequently congested and frustrating area of the road network!', which will paradoxically make the situation worse as the new D2 to Taunton will encourage more to use that corridor and put even more stress on the underqualified A303. 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? It almost makes me want to use the M4, a massive detour instead because the fact that such a major route still has significant S2 parts and thus experiences massive bottlenecks makes me feel like it's not a route worthy of being used.

Making the A303 D3 from the M3 to Stonehenge and D2 the rest of the way, and eliminating all the at-grade roundabouts, and finishing the Honiton Bypass on the A30's side of life should be given no. 1 priority in this part of the world. The A358 can be upgraded when there's actually a road that can support the extra traffic it will encourage.
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:27

Jack wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 21:27
I still don't really understand why the A358 is being given upgrade priority over the rest of the S2 A303/A30. I'm not denying that the A358 from the A303 to the M5 northbound is a busy corridor but surely completing the main route from London and the East Country to the West Country takes priority?
In the real world, upgrading the road with 31000 vpd is far more pressing than improving the road with 12000 vpd. How could that possibly be in less need of upgrading than a road a third as busy? This is why the A358 is more important than the A303 through the Blackdowns.

The massive detour is about 9 miles

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:41

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?
I really do hope so. And I also think that yes, they are.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Peter350 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:42

What an upgraded A358 really needs to make it work as a Blackdowns Bypass is to have fully freeflow links both north of Southfields and onto the M5 just west of J25. Otherwise, most traffic for Exeter will just continue to use the A303/A30.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by hoagy_ytfc » Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:59

Peter350 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 23:42
What an upgraded A358 really needs to make it work as a Blackdowns Bypass is to have fully freeflow links both north of Southfields and onto the M5 just west of J25. Otherwise, most traffic for Exeter will just continue to use the A303/A30.
So you think people who ignore signs and satnav will be aware of the freeflow-ness (or otherwise) of the M5 jct as they approach Southfields, and will decide to take an unsigned alternative? One which I imagine will have been untrunked?

And enough people will do this for it to be a problem?

No-one can say for sure, but my feeling is that it's unlikely.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Truvelo » Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:18

This argument was made in 1975 when the government was considering a link from the A303 at Podimore to M5 J25 along the A372 and A378 rather than improving the direct route via Honiton. The report I have concludes that the COBA of the direct route is better and this route is 6 miles shorter and therefore the route via J25 be abandoned in favour of dualling the direct route. The current A358 proposals would be a lot more than 6 miles longer than the 1975 scheme and even back then it was admitted that a large proportion of the traffic would still go via Honiton. Is history about to repeat itself 45 years later?
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Herned » Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:20

Truvelo wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:18
This argument was made in 1975 when the government was considering a link from the A303 at Podimore to M5 J25 along the A372 and A378 rather than improving the direct route via Honiton. The report I have concludes that the COBA of the direct route is better and this route is 6 miles shorter. The current A358 proposals would be a lot more than 6 miles longer than the 1975 scheme and even back then it was admitted that a large proportion of the traffic would still go via Honiton. Is history about to repeat itself 45 years later?
But the traffic right now is 30k+ via the A358, 12k via the A303. In what world can upgrading the A303 over the A358 be justified?

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by Chris5156 » 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.

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by SteveA30 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 07:39

Do Devon CC still have their scheme to upgrade the A303/A30, with S2/1 sections?
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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by RichardA35 » 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?)

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Re: A303 Phase 2 Upgrade

Post by fras » Thu Sep 24, 2020 08:10

Herned wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:20
Truvelo wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 00:18
This argument was made in 1975 when the government was considering a link from the A303 at Podimore to M5 J25 along the A372 and A378 rather than improving the direct route via Honiton. The report I have concludes that the COBA of the direct route is better and this route is 6 miles shorter. The current A358 proposals would be a lot more than 6 miles longer than the 1975 scheme and even back then it was admitted that a large proportion of the traffic would still go via Honiton. Is history about to repeat itself 45 years later?
But the traffic right now is 30k+ via the A358, 12k via the A303. In what world can upgrading the A303 over the A358 be justified?
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.

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