The investment will see improvements being developed along a series of regional motorways and A roads between now and 2021, giving road users simpler, faster and more reliable journeys. It will also boost the region’s economy and help to bring the country closer together

The work is part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy to triple levels of spending on roads by the end of the decade, which was announced last year. Highways England, the government-owned company which took over responsibility for England’s motorways and major A roads earlier this year, set out its plan for the South West at an event in Yeovil earlier today.

Highlights that will directly benefit Somerset included:

  • improvements to the M5 J23 at Bridgwater
  • development of a scheme on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down route that passes Stonehenge, including building a tunnel
  • dualling the A303 between Sparkford and IIchester
  • dualling the A358 from the M5 at Taunton to A303 at Southfields
  • Across the South West, Highways England will also pump millions into maintenance schemes, environmental improvements and provision for cyclists.

    Highways England Regional Director, Andrew Page-Dove said:

    “Our road network connects, people, places and business and this new investment will bring huge improvements to journeys around the South West.

    “The Government has committed record funding to specific projects to ensure our roads continue to play a key role in supporting connections in and out of the South West.

    “As Highways England, we’re delivering that investment to help unlock billions for the economy by increasing road capacity, reducing congestion and improving safety and accessibility for those that use or live alongside our roads.”

    Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:

    “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are making the biggest investment in roads in a generation. The £2 billion investment in the South West of England will significantly improve journeys and help create jobs.

    “We’re upgrading key roads like the A303 and A30. This will create a new strategic corridor to the South West.”

    The A303/A30/A358 corridor provides one of the main access routes between London, the South East and the South West.

    On the A303 around Stonehenge we are developing a scheme between Amesbury to Berwick Down, including building a tunnel to improve journey time reliability on this heavily congested road and improve the setting of the World Heritage Site.

    We will also be dualling the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester and the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and A303 at Southfields. These 3 schemes are the first steps in our aspirations to provide an expressway between the M3 and the South West.

    Other improvements include a major improvement to junction 23 of the M5 Bridgwater which will support proposals to develop around 5,000 new homes and create more than 4,400 new jobs. The work will also be key to the construction and ongoing success of the new power station planned at Hinckley Point.

    Across the South West, Highways England will also invest a further £90 million during 2015/16 to resurface roads, repair and renew structures like bridges and viaducts; and improve safety barriers