£371 million A3 improvements will go ahead
27 Oct 2006 09:15 AM
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
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