Mike Welcomes News of Westcountry Road Improvements

A303I 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…………..

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