Highways England (HE) was allocated £350m and commissioned by the Department for Transport to draw up options for A27 route improvements at Arundel, Worthing and East of Lewes (Selmeston, Polegate) in 2014. HE selected three options for Arundel, ran major, non-statutory public consultation in 2017 and announced its preferred route, option 5A, in May 2018. 5A can be seen here. Almost three quarters of the budget was allocated to the Arundel scheme. Congestion issues are most severe at Worthing where it is clear that a major road cannot be built and a single carriageway road will continue.
Option 5A has been acknowledged by HE to have severe environmental impact and low cost benefit. HE’s own traffic figures show significantly lower congestion relief to villages in the South Downs than originally promised ( to Similar options have all been rejected in previous years as environmentally highly damaging and costly.
The Arundel A27 Forum is proposing a better-considered, appropriate and more affordable approach. In the face of uncertainty in transport, all factors must be taken into account, including changing transport behaviour and new technology, the need to reduce traffic levels and its climate impact and to protect communities, wildlife and the countryside.
The Forum proposes that another option, the ‘New Purple’ route should be considered. This route is a far less damaging and affordable bypass option, meeting foreseen traffic and safety needs and improving local access.
The ‘new purple’ route – Click here to download a larger version
The ‘new Purple’ bypass
This is based on a Highways Agency (ex-HE) route option recommended for inclusion in consultation in 2006. It is brought up to date with current transport thinking.
This new option would improve A27 traffic flow significantly. It addresses safety and pollution issues, minimises impact on the Arun Valley landscape and enables easy access to Arundel and the nearby villages. Go here to see the issues behind this proposal and its benefits.
There are additional measures suggested to improve local links connecting the town for walking and cycling and better access to public transport, including road and rail. This would help reduce peak time road congestion.
A key factor is the route involves a two lane road with five metre wide lanes, rather than four lanes.
This extra lane width improves visibility and safety and allows continued access in the event of a traffic incident while minimising induced traffic. A speed limit of 40mph optimises flow and capacity and reduces pollution over the relatively short stretch of single carriageway.
- The raised junction at Crossbush would be fully developed, as a high level roundabout, eliminating traffic lights. Traffic can leave or join the A27 at this junction via left hand lane slip roads, providing access to Arundel (and Crossbush) or Littlehampton (and Lyminster).
- The A27 continues under the Crossbush roundabout as a wide single carriageway road (two, five metre lanes) road at 40mph, to a new bridge over the railway line. There are extra lanes only where slip roads are required for the Crossbush junction access.
- The new road joins the present relief road just before the junction with Fitzalan Road (south side) and progresses to the bridge over the river Arun and to Ford Road roundabout. The bridge can be rebuilt, continuing the wider lanes by minimising pedestrian walkways and adding paths alongside the bridge, beyond carriageway barriers.
- Chichester Road (Hospital Hill) has some scope for widening on the south side, including by Canada Gardens, to maintain the five metre lane width up to the dualled section at the White Swan. This should be fully investigated. Planted, sound banks may be constructed where widening brings the carriageway closer to housing or where there are existing noise issues.
- There is no car access on the old relief road, which would otherwise generate another pinch point. The old road can provide a separate cycle and walking route to the Causeway and Arundel station from the river crossing.
The Highways England discussions with stakeholders tell us that ‘sustainable transport’ elements, so far unspecified, will be included. These would normally include measures to improve walking, cycling and public transport and travel planning support.
This ‘new Purple’ proposal includes local walking and cycling routes, avoiding the A27 and reducing ‘severance’ (division of the town by the road), involving:
- A Ford Road crossing and improved path under the A27 river bridge, for a route from Ford Road and Torton Hill to the High Street.
- A pedestrian/cycle bridge from the bottom of Canada Road over Chichester Road to the Waterwoods bridleway and a road crossing and bridge from the A284 to Mount Pleasant, to provide a safe, more direct route to schools, cathedral and surgery.
Public transport access and facilities
- Improved access to Ford station with an off-road path for walking and cycling from Arundel, along with improved parking facilities at the station. This will enable increased coastal rail commuting and student travel.
- Upgraded coastal rail and bus infrastructure, including longer trains and platforms, increased frequencies and improved information, to improve commuter choice.
- Tailored support for business travel planning measures, particularly for larger organisations like hospitals and educational institutions. Measures including flexible working, peak fare discounts, rotational parking, car sharing, independent buses, active travel for health programmes and personalised travel information.
Support, ideas and questions are invited on the ‘new Purple’ route concept and associated transport measures.