I am pleased to hear of the news that the A303 and A358 will be dualled along their entire length between London and Taunton. For many years from the late 90’s I travelled this corridor between Bishops Lydeard and Portsmouth 4 times a week. Half the time the journey was manageable and the other half it was awful, especially in the summer. A 2 hour journey could easily take 4 hours as I stop/started at each point where the dual carriage merged into one lane. Removal of these pinchpoints will improve trade, tourism and the lives of countless local people. I also think that bringing that traffic up a dualled A358 from Ilminster to the M5 at Taunton is the way to go rather than ploughing on through the Blackdown Hills AONB. So that’s me finished talking from a Westcountry perspective. As far as Taunton is concerned, the key will be to make sure that the already grossly-congested Junction 25 does not become even more overloaded than it already is. It acts as a block to further commercial and economic development in Taunton and that block must be removed. The design of the new junction of a dualled A358 and the M5 at Junction 25 will be crucial to the future success of our County town.
My only other slight reservation is that a major element of these plans, the Stonhenge Tunnel has been announced and not delivered 4 times already in the last 20 years, and each time promised in the run-up to a General Election. I’ll reserve my actual celebrations until the opening party…………..