Highways England has announced that Taylor Woodrow Plus has been awarded a £328 million contract to design and deliver an upgrade to the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and the Southfields roundabout on the A303.
The award follows on from a competitive procurement process via Highways England’s Regional Delivery Partnership framework.
Preparatory works have taken place with Taylor Woodrow, in partnership with Arup and Ramboll, undertaking ground investigation and environmental surveys in the area to inform their design proposals.
This is all in preparation for a statutory consultation on the proposals ahead of submission of the scheme’s Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate.
Andrew Alcorn, Highways England Programme Leader for the A358, said: “We are delighted to be working with Taylor Woodrow Plus to move forward this vital scheme.
“Taylor Woodrow has an extensive track record working with Highways England and delivering large scale infrastructure projects, so we are confident they will deliver a scheme that will support economic growth, improve traffic flows at peak times and make the road safer.”
Julian Gatward, Managing Director of Taylor Woodrow, said: “Taylor Woodrow Plus is pleased to have been awarded the contract to deliver such a significant improvement for motorists and the local community.
“Taylor Woodrow Plus brings together the expertise of Taylor Woodrow, Arup and Ramboll in delivering solutions from conception through to construction.
“Supported by Taylor Woodrow’s VINCI sister companies, we are committed to contributing to the local community whilst supporting economic growth in the area.”
Vital to the A303/A358 corridor, the scheme is part of a long-term aim to create a high-quality dual carriageway link between London and the South East and the South West. Whilst much of the corridor is dual carriageway, there is still more than 35 miles of single carriageway.
These sections cause bottlenecks, especially in summer and at weekends, causing delays for road users and consequent rat-running through surrounding villages. In order to address this, Highways England is proposing to upgrade a nine-mile section of the A358 and the M5 in Somerset.
Carrying 24,800 vehicles a day, this will also provide direct access to the Nexus 25 development near Taunton and traffic through Henlade will be reduced by almost 90%.
The scheme will also make journeys safer by reducing the number of road junctions and other private accesses with direct access onto the A358, where traffic turns across oncoming traffic, replacing them with a number of slip road type junctions and other access arrangements.
Improved connectivity and reduced journey times will assist the local and regional economy by making Taunton, Somerset and the South West a more attractive place to work and do business.
Highways England will seek views on its latest designs in a public consultation later this autumn before submitting a Development Consent Order application.
Paula Hewitt, Somerset County Council’s Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure, said: “It’s great to see this significant step forward with the project.
“The A358/A303 is an important transport corridor, and this long-awaited and vital improvement will provide a massive boost for the economy of Somerset, as well as improving connectivity and travel times.”
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