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A27 Action Plan

Background information

The A27 is the only major east-west road along the South Coast, linking Brighton, Worthing, Chichester, Portsmouth, Southampton, and beyond. It is managed and operated by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Government and is one of the most unreliable trunk roads in England.

This unreliability affects the performance of the local economy as the A27 constrains much needed development and causes delays for businesses, residents and visitors to West Sussex. The West Sussex Transport Plan 2011-2026 prioritises improvements to the main bottlenecks on the A27 at Chichester, Arundel, Worthing, and Lancing.

In late 2012 there appeared no obvious prospect of Government intervention to determine significant, appropriate solutions and it was likely that improvements to the A27 would continue to be delayed. We therefore decided to prepare a short term Action Plan for the A27 that would be capable of supporting local economic growth and bringing forward planned development needed to meet local needs.

Project objectives

The main objectives of the project are:

  • To consider a range of affordable options which deliver improved conditions on the A27 and reduced rat-running through urban and rural areas in the short term. These are likely to take the form of amendments to existing junctions and making use of traffic signals and new technology to improve the efficiency of the network alongside complementary local transport strategies.

  • To identify a set of largely online improvements for key A27 bottlenecks at Chichester, Arundel, Worthing and Lancing, which can be delivered within a 5-year period from approval of the plan whilst not prejudicing longer term improvements.

  • To be capable of delivery in stages using existing or emerging funding opportunities.

  • To identify an improvement strategy that ensures trunk road improvements operate effectively together whilst also balancing the impact on the local road network.

Progress and next steps

Preparation of the draft A27 Action Plan began in January 2013 with the main technical study work completed by July 2013. The Technical Report, produced by consultants working on our behalf (and which will be used to inform future discussions with Government and local stakeholders about the nature and timing of investment in the A27), are available under supporting documents.

The main findings of the technical work are:

  • a realistic set of proposals for ‘online’ improvements to key junctions in Chichester, Worthing and Lancing has been identified which could be delivered in the short term and which would have the potential to support planned growth and improve short to medium term network performance;

  • short-term solutions are unlikely to significantly improve performance in the Arundel area, although identified modest ‘online’ improvements are likely to be necessary to support planned development, or other local network improvements.

However, a County Council decision on public consultation about the short term Action Plan has been postponed following the government’s June 2013 Spending Review announcement of new plans to upgrade the A27 Chichester Bypass in the period 2015-2019 and to complete an A27 corridor study, including identifying solutions for Worthing and Arundel, also in 2015 to 2019.

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport will report back to the County Council later this year on details of the Highways Agency intentions to progress the above government plans. This will help inform decisions on our short-term Action Plan.

Supporting documents

Further information

We will publish updates here as the project progresses.

For further information, please contact us by email or call the Planning & Transport Policy Team on:

Email Email: ltp@westsussex.gov.uk
Phone Phone: 01243 642105

Recent History of the A27 in West Sussex

Following the Secretary of State for Transport’s rejection of the South Coast Multi Modal Study (SoCoMMS) recommendations in 2003, the Highways Agency worked with the County Council, other local authorities and statutory environmental bodies to develop a local strategy and improvement options for the A27 Chichester bypass.

These options were the subject of a local public consultation held in late 2004/early 2005. Information on the strategy and options presented is available on the Highways Agency’s website. Following a cost review in 2009, these proposals were not progressed further.

In its June 2013 Spending Review central government announced intentions, for the period 2015 to 2019, to:

  • upgrade the six junctions of the A27 Chichester Bypass, and

  • complete an A27 corridor study (including identifying solutions for Worthing and Arundel).

In addition, the Highways Agency will shortly be commencing work on developing a regional Route-Based Strategy (a new approach to investment planning which will identify operational, maintenance and enhancement priorities for trunk roads) which will include the A27 and M23/A23 in West Sussex.

Further information on the above plans and proposals will be provided, or ‘sign-posted’, as it becomes known to us.

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