A358 compromise announced
The A358 route announced by Highways England this morning is interesting. You may recall that in 2017 HE were slammed for offering only one route to “consult” on.
Then in 2018 after being put under pressure they offered three routes all of which required a new junction on the M5. All had the effect of moving the new dual carriage way slightly closer to Stoke St Mary. But at least the public were offered a choice.
This morning’s (27th June) announcement reveals that having “listened” to feedback, HE have decided not to use any of the three options they offered in the last consultation.
Instead they have selected a completly new option. This keeps thenew dual carriageway section from Ash to the M5 much closer to the existing A358.
Most interesting, the new junctions onto the M5 have been scrapped. Instead the plans involve using the existing Junction 25. This has the advantage of linking to the proposed Nexus 25 Business Park. The three original routes all rather bypassed it.
There is no getting away from the fact that having been castigated first by the public in Somerset and more recently by MPs in Parliament, this is a cost cutting exercise.
Not having a new junction will save money and may help bring a project that is already more than a year late, back to a more acceptable time table.
The proposed route in full is as below: