Duncan Barkes: let’s get bypass back on the agenda

WE live in one of the most affluent parts of England, yet some of our road networks are positively archaic.

Vast amounts of cash are paid to the government in vehicle tax, fuel duty and in so many other ways, yet we are still expected to put up with the notorious Crossbush bottleneck on the A27.

This stretch of road has the ability to suck the life out of you. It can take so long to pass through the area that you can see the seasons changing. In the time it takes to snake along the A27 on the Arundel stretch I have, even on a ‘quick’ day, grown some pretty impressive stubble.

Nick Herbert, the excellent Arundel and South Downs MP, has long campaigned for a bypass, and various local councils have occasionally chucked money at studies to add weight to the case, but anyone with a brain cell can see the need.

Of course it is not just Arundel residents and visitors who would benefit massively from a bypass at this hot spot, but also those travelling from Chichester and Worthing. The A27 gets pretty clogged at the best of times and the Crosbush bottleneck further adds to tedious and time-wasting blockages. A recent report estimated that the hold-ups caused by this inadequate strip of road cost the Sussex economy £2billion a year.

Given the state of the economy, you would have hoped that investing in new infrastructure would be a priority. The Highways Agency has reportedly said bypasses for Arundel, Chichester and Worthing parts of the A27 were not on their radar and any consideration on this matter would not be until 2020 at the earliest. Not good enough.

As well as affecting local businesses, making life horrendous for anyone who regularly travels along the south coast and surely having a negative impact on tourism, the problem will only get worse as more houses are built in the area.

The fight for an Arundel bypass seems to be waning, but it is more important than ever. Perhaps if Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin were not so obsessed with extra runways at Heathrow or the ghastly HS2 rail project we might finally make some headway.

Until then, the only headway you’ll make on this route will be at the pace of an arthritic snail.

Do you agree or disagree with Duncan’s views on the need for an A27 bylass? Email your views to letters@worthingherald.co.uk, letters@shorehamherald.co.uk or letters@littlehamptongazette.co.uk