Contract awarded for A358

It may feel as if it has been discussed for an eternity, but finally the A358 is to get two lanes in each direction. Today Highways England announced that Taylor Woodrow had been awarded the contract following a competitive bidding process. The contract worth £328 million is to design and deliver an upgrade to the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and the Southfields roundabout outside Ilminster on the A303.

The contract will see the nine mile stretch of road “upgraded to high quality dual carriageway.” The A358 carries 24,800 vehicles a day, and that is before an upgrade that is only going to increase traffic volumes.

Not all aspects have yet been agreed. Remember the route has already been subject to a deeply flawed consultation. So much so that Highways England offered just one alternative. Eventually they were told to go back and do it properly. This time three different routes were offered. The key component being how to link to the M5 and take traffic away from Henlade village.

There still needs to be a further statutory consultation on the proposals. It will take place this Autumn. It has to be completed before the planning application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

Meanwhile Highways England state that whichever option is agreed, the volume of traffic passing through Henlade will be reduced by 90%

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