News story

New route to provide better journeys in Somerset

A358 upgrade to boost business and tourism in south-west.

Traffic on the A303.

A new route to upgrade a major south-west road has been proposed today (28 March 2017) by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

The A358 between the M5 at Taunton and the A303 Southfields will be made into a dual carriageway, leading to quicker journeys for motorists.

Currently, the road is a mix of single and dual carriageway, leading to bottlenecks and congestion. It also carries more vehicles than it was designed for, causing further delays.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

We are spending £15 billion on upgrading our major roads – the biggest investment in a generation.

This latest announcement is the next stage in our commitment to deliver improvements to the south-west. The A358 is a key route between the south-west and London and provides a vital link to Somerset communities. A dual carriageway will help existing businesses thrive and create opportunities for new companies as well as boosting tourism.

The upgraded route is long overdue, but we are now taking action to cut congestion on the A358 to give motorists quicker, safer and more reliable journeys.

The government is also improving the nearby A303 at Stonehenge and between Sparkford and Ilchester.

Today, Highways England started its consultation into the A358 upgrade. It will close on 20 May.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, said:

This scheme will take us a step closer to transforming the A303/A358 corridor into a new type of strategic road which is as safe and reliable as a motorway and where fast and reliable journeys are the norm.

Our consultation and programme of public exhibitions will give everyone a chance to hear more about the proposal and tell us what they think of our plans to deliver the scheme.

The route would see the existing road upgraded between Southfields and West Hatch, where it will split into a new dual carriageway linking with M5 at a new junction at Shoreditch.

A new junction on the M5 would help support major development opportunities south of Taunton.

Alongside the upgraded road will be enhanced provision for cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians.

This consultation is your opportunity to express your views on the proposals ahead of further development work.

A preferred route will be announced this winter, with work starting in spring 2020.

View the proposed route options at the following events:

Date Venue Time
Friday 7 April 2017 Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall, Chestnut View, Hatch Beauchamp, Taunton TA3 6TH 10:00am to 6.00pm
Saturday 8 April 2017 Taunton Racecourse, Orchard Portman, Taunton TA3 7BL 10:00am to 6.00pm
Monday 10 April 2017 Holiday Inn, Deane Gate Avenue, Somerset, UK TA1 2UA 12:00 to 8.00pm
Tuesday 11 April 2017 Monks Yard, Horton Cross Farm, Ilminster TA19 9PT 12:00 to 8.00pm
Monday 8 May 2017 Holiday Inn, Deane Gate Avenue, Somerset, UK TA1 2UA 10:00am to 5.00pm

Consultation materials will be available to view from 28 March until 20 May 2017 during normal opening hours at the following places:

  • Taunton Deane Borough Council, The Deane House, Belvedere Rd, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1HE
  • Taunton Library, Paul Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3XZ
  • Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
  • South Somerset District Council, Brympton Way, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 2HT
  • Ilminster Town Council, Council Offices/North St, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0DG

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Published 28 March 2017