There will be no offline bypasses through Chichester's countryside.
You can read Highways England's version of this news here. It does not mention the abandoned northern bypass options, saying merely:
We have assessed a range of options, many of which have been considered during the long history of this project and we will present this context during the consultation. Our focus, in line with the expectations set out in the Government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS), will be on upgrading four junctions on the existing A27 and we will be consulting on a number of options and permutations.
They have however released a subsequent statement to the media:
A Highways England spokesperson said:
“We want to consult the public on improving the A27 as soon as possible but we need to get it right and still have to carry out some further assessments.
“Our target remains for construction to start in 2019 and have the road opened by 2020.” [??? this is not consistent with 'option dependent 2021-23' in their Newsletter a few days earlier, so may be a typo???]
- The government is investing £15bn upgrading motorways and major A-roads between 2015 and 2021 – and improvements to the A27 will be coming
- Our starting point for improving the A27 near Chichester are the longstanding proposals for a series of junction upgrades along the existing route of A27
- We can confirm a northern bypass will not be part of our proposals
The real decision news came to us first from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP; read his letter to Nick Herbert MP here. He repeated Highways England's newsletter wording but then he added:
To be clear, this will not include alternative routes which have been previously considered, such as a northern route which could impact on the Goodwood Estate.
This is very good news. It means that the government has moved on from the DfT March 2015 strategy proposal to consider a Sussex A27 'Expressway'. Peter Phillips of Highways England described this with disarming frankness as an 'aspiration'. It was an aspiration destined to crash on the facts - such as
- the importance of the current Sussex A27 route for local transport
- the adverse consequences of reducing the number of junctions to achieve expressway standard
- the importance of the countryside through which any major new offline bypasses would be routed
- the problems being limited to peak traffic times, and the coming potential to solve those problems with intelligent road pricing and other management measures.
The offline bypass option for Worthing, considered in the A27 Feasibility Study, was also rejected.
We are now asking the government, and Highways England, to take a consistent approach at Arundel and East of Lewes.
We ask the DfT and Highways England to rule out major new offline bypasses through the countryside, in particular the Binsted option at Arundel, during the current Options Identification Stage which concludes on November 2016.
At Arundel, the only option that is appropriate and consistent with the approaches now being taken at Chichester and Worthing, is the new Purple Route proposal being developed by the Arundel residents group ArundelSCATE.