HOPES that drivers could get to the South-West quicker and help boost the regional economy were raised following Department for Transport backing for improvements to the A303/A358/A30 corridor.

DforT sources revealed they are “presenting a strong business case” to the Government to upgrade the route during a meeting with representatives of Somerset and other county councils and other groups last Friday.

They want the whole route improved “over time”, but have earmarked three priority sections of the A303 they want implemented “at the earliest opportunity” – dualling the Sparkford-Ilchester section at a cost of £50million; small scale improvements between Ilminster and Honiton at £50million; and dualling the Chicklade Bottom to Mere section at £150million.

Cllr David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Improving the A303 corridor will bring considerable economic benefits to the South-West.

“We and our partners have long campaigned for these improvements and following the work we presented to Ministers last year I am really pleased that the DforT is now taking forward our case.”