THE Leaders of Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council have welcomed news that the A358 is now being looked at as a priority for improvements.
The Highways Agency is currently carrying out phase 2 of a feasibility study to consider improving the A303/A30/A358 and had initially identified five stretches to look at in detail.
It has now been announced that the section of A358 between Southfields Roundabout at Ilminster and the M5 at Taunton will also be included as part of phase 2.
It is expected that the Highways Agency will publish its findings in time for the Government’s Autumn Statement, which will reveal the next round of funding allocations for future projects.
Cllr John Osman, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Anyone who regularly drives along the A303/A358 corridor will know that improvements are much-needed and that’s why we as a council have been lobbying the Government to take action.
“I’m delighted this section of the A358 has been added as one of the priority areas. We will now see what happens in the autumn, but I’m pleased to hear that the Government is listening to us in Somerset.”
Cllr John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “This is excellent news as improvements to the A358 and junction 25 have been recognised as major impediments to our ambitious regeneration plans and economic development, so high on my agenda.
“I have long pressed for improvement to this road and junction and it is great to see it move up the agenda, also that it is now being actively considered by the Highways Agency with the expectation of consideration in the Government’s Autumn Statement.
“Any improvements to this route will be welcomed by motorists and residents to relieve the daily misery of the intolerable queues and delays and the resultant pollution. This major step forward is welcomed by the borough council.”