Department for Transport
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£371 million A3 improvements will go ahead
Much needed improvements to the A3 trunk road at Hindhead, Surrey, will go ahead Stephen Ladyman, Transport Minister, confirmed today. The Government is committing £371M to improve the last remaining single carriageway section of the A3, between South West London and Portsmouth, to a dual carriageway. This includes the construction of a twin bore tunnel under the Devil's Punch Bowl Site of Special Scientific Interest to minimise any negative impacts on the environment, as well as major landscape restoration following the closure of the old A3.
Stephen Ladyman said:
"This is a scheme that has something for everyone. It will remove the daily congestion and journey unreliability caused by unacceptable bottlenecks around the A3/A287 traffic light controlled crossroads, benefiting both longer distance drivers and local communities. Air pollution and traffic queues in Hindhead will be significantly reduced and the removal of the old A3 will provide a unique opportunity for environmental regeneration and recreational opportunities. Alongside this, Portsmouth will have its own dual carriageway link to the M25, improving opportunities for the business community."
The scheme is intended to relieve congestion on the A3 caused by peak hour delays at A3/A287 traffic signal controlled crossroads. It will considerably improve journey time reliability in the area and relieve local roads of traffic using them to avoid the crossroads.
The improvement to the A3 has been carefully designed to minimise impacts on the local environment. The area around Hindhead is environmentally sensitive as it lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The intention to build a tunnel under the Devil's Punch Bowl and the associated removal of the existing road from around its rim are major environmental benefits and will allow new regeneration opportunities for the local community.
The scheme also includes several underpasses to allow horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians to cross the new A3 in safety, and the construction of about 7km of track suitable for cyclists.
Initial environmental works will begin in January 2007 and the main scheme works in April 2008, with the tunnel expected to be open to motorists in 2011.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The decision on the published Orders for the scheme is taken jointly by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - who is responsible for Planning, and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - who is responsible for common land required for the scheme.
2. The local inquiry was held at the Branksome Initial Conference Centre, Haslemere, for 29 sitting days between 7 September 2004 and 15 February 2005.
3. Mr Alan Gray, MRICS, DipTP, MRTPI, an independent Inspector appointed by the Secretaries of State and assisted by Mr John Watson, BSc(Hons), FIHT, MICE, MCMI, an Assistant Inspector.
4. The published scheme will divert a length of 6.7km (some 4 miles) of the existing A3 Portsmouth Road onto a new alignment, with a 1.9km section (about 1-1/4 miles) that passes under the Devil's Punch Bowl, placed in a twin-bored tunnel, associated side roads and private means of access alterations, and the detrunking of a superseded section of the existing A3.
5. The A3 Hindhead Improvement was included in the programme of schemes that the Government announced on 6 July 2006 that it expects to fund in the South East, subject to completion of statutory procedures and compliance with Departmental requirements. This reflected the South East region's advice that the A3 Hindhead Improvement is a high priority for funding within the indicative budget for major transport schemes in the South East.
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Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk
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