CAMPAIGNERS fighting for an A27 bypass around Arundel are feeling optimistic after the Government’s top transport minister paid the town a visit today (Friday, June 27).
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin joined county, district and town councillors alongside Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert, during a visit to the A27 Crossbush junction – a stretch of road which, during peak times, is a misery to hundreds of motorists.
His visit was part of the newly-launched A27 Action campaign which is looking to convince the Government to pump in major investment to improve the entire stretch of the A27.
And although the Crossbush junction was relatively free-moving this afternoon, Mr McLoughlin said he could understand local frustration about the well-known bottleneck.
Speaking outside the Beefeater, in Crossbush, the transport secretary said: “This Government is serious about improving the transport infrastructure of this country.
“As part of this commitment we will be investing £24billion on our road infrastructure over the next five years.”
He explained that he hoped the added investment would not only ease congestion but bolster the economy too.
He added: “The A27 is part of the five routes we are looking at across the county as routes of real national importance.
“We are looking to address some of the serious traffic problems surrounding these routes.
“And although it has been quiet here today I can just imagine what it would be like come 5pm when traffic is queuing. It’s a road which, as I understand it, has significant problems.”
The A27 Action campaign, which was launched last night at Worthing College, aims to address a number of key bottlenecks along the highway, as well as fixing junctions in Worthing and Lancing, offering a bypass through Arundel, and improve the road through Fontwell and Chichester.
As part of the action, Mr McLoughlin urged campaigners to remain unified and have a consensus among one another about exactly what it is they want to achieve.
Speaking after the transport secretary’s visit, Nick Herbert said he felt optimistic about the campaign’s success.
“I am really pleased the transport secretary came down today,” he added. “It does show the seriousness that the Government is taking for the A27.
“It has identified it as one of the roads – one of I think five or six in the country – that they are looking at that are problematic.
“It’s meant to be a route of national significance, a coastal highway, when too often it is a coastal car park.
“Now the fact that the secretary of state came down, that he met local businesses, local councillors and that he was listening to the concerns and to the local MPs who came here today to explain the problems, I think, does show that the Government is willing to listen and to take this seriously.
“So we’ve got to really go for this.”
A decision will be made later this year about whether or not funding will be given to improve the A27.
Commuters and residents can pledge their support for the campaign by visiting the A27 Action website, here, and liking a new Facebook page ‘A27 Action’.