Senior Adur and Worthing councillors called for £69million plans for the A27 between Worthing and Lancing to be rejected as weeks of consultation drew to a close.
Cabinet members said the Highways England consultation failed to offer any alternatives, while the sole option proposed offered no significant improvement to the area’s congestion woes.
Speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, hours before the consultation close, Worthing Borough Council leader Dan Humphreys said: “We all remain gobsmacked and flabbergasted by what has been put before us.
“I’m quite clear. I think Worthing has been treated with contempt by Highways England. I can’t believe they have put that document in front of us and those proposals before us.”
The project under consideration includes tweaks to six key junctions – but the councils’ head of planning and development James Appleton said it failed to meeting the spirit of the Road Investment Strategy.
Mr Appleton said the strategy had anticipated options for full dualling of the stretch to be explored.
But the option presented to the public left councillors feeling underwhelmed.
Adur cabinet member for customer services Carson Albury said: “Each ward councillor should fill out the form and do what I did and mark out the word ‘improvement’ when you send the survey in.
“We are working with the county council to stop a rat run in Manor Road and it is making Manor Road a designed rat run. We would also be losing a proportion of our park. It is pretty ludicrous the whole thing.”
A27 improvements have been on the agenda for decades but never materialised.
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin recalled a meeting with business leaders and then deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in Worthing in the early 2000s. The meeting was delayed because the politician was stuck in traffic on the A27.
He said: “All the business leaders were waiting and he turned up 45 minutes late.
“The first thing he said was ‘if anybody mentions that road I am going to walk out of here’.
“I think he got the message.”
The councillors unanimously agreed to respond in objection to the proposals.