Fresh progress has been made on the planned upgrade of the A303 into an expressway to the South West.
Highways England has announced the preferred route for the £179M dualling of a 5km section of the road between Sparkford and Ilchester in Somerset.
This follows last month’s publication of revised plans for the A303 upgrade between Amesbury and Berwick Down, which includes a tunnel beneath the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Option one was chosen for the Sparkford to Illchester project, with Highways England saying this was preferred by most local people due to its low impact on biodiversity.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “People who responded to our consultation earlier this year demonstrated strong support for option one, which closely follows the route of the existing A303 and so would have less impact on the rural setting.”
A planning application could be submitted next summer, with construction targeted to begin in 2020.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our major upgrade to the A303, linking the M3 in the south-east and the M5 in the south-west, will create an expressway to boost the regional economy and provide better transport links.
“As part of this work, the £179M upgrade between Sparkford and Ilchester will cut congestion, reduce journey times and improve safety for all road users.”
Meanwhile, Highways England also this week outlined plans for a £100M dual carriageway between Windy Harbour and Skippool in the North West.