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Environmentalists fume as road projects blossom

BACKING FOR £750M of road building projects emerged this week from the government's latest multi-modal transport study.

The announcement came as the Highways Agency said it would swell its programme of road schemes to more than 220 by 2005.

The South Coast multi-modal study by consultant Halcrow backed projects including environmentally sensitive widening and junction improvement schemes on the A27 and M27.

Publication of the study came amid reports that the Highways Agency plans to add 160 schemes to its 60 strong programme of improvements over three years.

The proposed South Coast road building programme included recommendations to build the Arundel bypass by 2012.

Environmentalists claim this will cut through the South Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.

The scheme for a Lewes to Beddingham flyover across the London to Eastbourne railway, to be built by 2007, was included after being dropped from the government's 1998 roads review.

Furious environmentalists said the recommended Bexhill link road to Hastings, also to be built by 2007, was a repackaging of the Hastings western bypass, which had been dropped by the government in June 2001 because it would cut across an area of unspoilt countryside.

Halcrow's project director Mark Brown denied the link road was 'son of Hastings bypass'.

It was a much shorter route with a 'totally different alignment within the conurbation' to aid the regeneration of Hastings, he said.

INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk/magazine/transport

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