BUSINESSES and commuters will benefit as hundreds of millions of pounds is pumped into improving the south’s busiest roads.
The government has pledged £350m of improvements to the A27, tackling severe congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.
Hailed as the ‘biggest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades’, there will be upgrades on the M27 from junction 5 at Southampton Airport to junction 8, where there will be widening and signalisation of slip roads and access routes.
There will be replacement of rail bridges in Southampton on the local road network to reduce pressure on the M27.
Around £30m will be invested in the A34 – the main route from the Midlands to the south – where there will be a new freight link and enhanced junctions around Oxford and Winchester.
The south east region will get 18 new schemes worth around £1bn, creating 900 construction jobs.
Councillor David Guest, in charge of regeneration in Havant, hailed the new Arundel bypass as a major boost.
He said: ‘As I understand it’s going to complete the missing A27 link.
‘That’s going to improve south coast accessibility for everybody.
‘It’s long, long overdue. It will benefit transportation and the movement of goods and people.
‘People from Arundel and further east will have a quicker route to Portsmouth and they can stop off at Havant.’
The government has already announced a £69m upgrade to the Chichester bypass.
Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, said: ‘This is fantastic news for West Sussex.’
Other schemes include improved sliproads on the M3 junction 10, junction 11 and 12, and improvements where the M3 meets the M27.
Further west, the government announced that the A31 at Ringwood will be widened to help local traffic crossing the Avon and improve safety. Around 10 of the 31 junctions on the M25 will also be improved.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ‘Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity.’