The A303 is a key route into and out of Devon and Cornwall

The order grants development consent for continuous dual carriageway on the A303 linking the Podimore roundabout and the Sparkford bypass, with no at-grade junctions in between.

It is a three-mile stretch of east-west trunk road, to the north of Yeovil.

Highways England agreed a £135m construction contract with Galliford Try for the job back in September 2019, via its regional delivery partnerships framework. At the time, Galliford Try was expecting to be on site by March 2020.

Highways England submitted its planning application to the Planning Inspectorate back in July 2018 and a recommendation was made to the secretary of state on 12th September 2019. It has taken him 16 months to make a decision.

Highways England says the overall scheme cost is up to £250m.

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Besides the new dual carriageway link the upgrade will include new and replacement slip roads, junctions and road bridges to replace existing junctions and direct access roads.

The new dualled section will start east of Podimore Roundabout, follow the alignment of the existing A303 to Downhead, and then move north of the existing A303 single carriageway, allowing the existing road to be kept for use as a local road in this section.

The route will rise up West Camel Hill before crossing over the existing A303 at the junction with Steart Hill/Howell Hill and meet up with the existing road again between Vale Farm and the Ministry of Defence signal station at Eyewell/Traits Land.

The final section of the route bypasses the existing Hazlegrove Roundabout to the north through the registered park and garden associated with Hazlegrove House, before tying into the existing A303 Sparkford Bypass.

Alongside the A303, Highways England is also moving forward with its related A358 Taunton to Southfields dualling scheme (£250m-£500m). Vinci’s UK civil engineering division, Taylor Woodrow, is progressing work on the preliminary design and initial survey work ahead of a public consultation.

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