What we really need on the Sussex A27 is not continuous high speed, but free flow with many access points for local journeys.
Local road users are the principal users of the Sussex A27. Neither they, nor the planned additional housing, would benefit from an A27(M) Expressway-style road throughout Sussex, designed to prioritise through traffic over local traffic, with minimum local access. But the current congestion problems on the A27, with poor peaktime traffic management and anomalous junction arrangements, are being used by some to justify an Expressway approach to the Sussex A27.
Attempts to create an Expressway or mini-motorway throughout Sussex, would severely damage the South Downs National Park in four areas:
- Chichester, where the proposed North Bypass would cut off the town from the National Park
- Arundel – where a major new offline bypass would destroy valued countryside and villages
- Worthing – where a route through the National Park was considered though rejected by the Feasibility Study
- East of Lewes, where a new dual carriageway just north of the National Park has been suggested, and some are arguing for it to be revived.
The Expressway would act as an alternative to the M25 for long-distance journeys. But as seen with the M25, such new ‘capacity’ creates more journeys and eventually fills up. The phenomenon of ‘induced traffic’, known since the 1990s, is ignored in arguments suggesting that the new road would be good for the National Park because it would cut air pollution and congestion within the National Park. In fact the massive increase in traffic would lead to more congestion, and more pollution, caused by the extra journeys. The DfT states there are currently few end-to-end journeys on the A27: an Expressway would create these, bringing added pollution, noise and adverse impacts on climate change as well as on local communities.
Where can I read about the DfT's Expressways Strategy?
A description of the strategy and what is meant by an Expressway can be read in the Department for Transport's Road Investment Strategy 2015/16 - 2019/20. Click here to read just those extracts of that long paper which deal with Expressways.
The A27 West of Lewes is shown on the DfT's strategic map as a 'planned or potential' Expressway; the A27 East of Lewes is shown as an 'option for a further Expressway':
What other strategic issues should affect A27 decisions?
- With climate change now a reality, and the devastating flooding recently in the UK, now is not a time to be building major new high speed roads. Now is a time to be trying every possibly way to reduce car journeys and improve other forms of transport.
- The increase in emissions from the increased traffic caused by the Government’s road building plans will not help the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
- Rather than a one-track major trunk roads strategy, decisions should be based on ‘Multi-modal’ transport studies, i.e. including all transport modes in future plans - rail, bus, cycle, walking and trams as well as roads.
- Time, money and natural resources are being wasted by our present transport planning system, with Highways England responsible for trunk roads and local authorities responsible for all others, and no adequate co-ordination between them.