- A303 road
UK road routebox
image_caption= A303 near
Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire
direction= North East - South West
The A303 is a
trunk roadin England. It is the main road between Basingstokein Hampshireand Honitonin Devon. The M3, the A303 and the A30 together make up one of the main routes from Londonto South West England, running from London to Land's Endin Cornwall. It is a primary A roadthroughout its length.
The A303 is subject to several upgrade proposals, some of which have been controversial.Despite being a primary route to the south west, the A303 is not frequently congested due to the fact that the recommended route to Honiton is the M4 and the M5.
The A303 was created out of a renumbering of several different routes to provide a long bypass for through traffic for a section of the A30, though parts of the route, such as the section past Stonehenge have been a right of way for people, wagons, and later vehicles for centuries. Running from the M3 motorway towards the south west of England these were:
Since the designation of this route, various bypasses have been built.
The A303 starts at the
M3 motorwaysouth of Basingstokeat Junction 8, as a dual carriageway. It heads south westerly, crossing the A34 roadnear to Bullingtonbefore passing south of Andover. Dropping down it passes Amesburyon a bypass. The route then becomes single carriagewaybefore passing Stonehenge. After Winterbourne Stokethe route once again becomes dual carriageway, meeting the A36 at Deptford. There is then another section of single carriageway road, before a further section of dual 2 lane road near Berwick St Leonard. It enters a valley through the villageof Chicklade. From here it follows the terrain up to Mere, where it runs north of the town as another dual carriageway bypass. Continuing east it passes south of Wincantonand then north of Sparkfordto a roundaboutwhere the road reverts once more to single carriageway. At Yeoviltonthe road becomes dual 2 lane again, connects with the A37 which joins until the end of the bypass. This final section of dual carriageway ends at South Petherton. It runs north of Ilminsterwhere it meets the A358 road. After this, the roads more south westerly through the Blackdown Hillsas a narrow road following the contours of the land. It then joins the A30 where it ends.
A substantial proportion of the road is of
dual carriagewayconstruction, with intervening sections of single carriageway road. The Highways Agencyhas had plans for several years to upgrade the rest of the route to dual carriageway, however none of these are currently under construction.
A303 Stonehenge Improvement
The most controversial of these was the
Stonehenge road tunnel, where the road passes alongside the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. On 5 June 2003, 7.7 miles (12.5 km) of improvements, including the proposed 1.3 mile (2.1 km) bored Stonehenge road tunnelunder land adjacent to Stonehengewere announced by the Secretary of State for Transportas part of a wider announcement of road improvements. A public enquiry into whether the plans were adequate was announced; it concluded that they were, despite protests from charities and landowners that the tunnel should be longer. On 31 October 2005 it was announced that there was to be a review of the options for Stonehenge, starting in January 2006 as costs had doubled. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/4699477.stm |title= Stonehenge tunnel plan cash blow |publisher=BBC News |date=2005-07-20 |accessdate=2007-04-08] The government cancelled the whole scheme in December 2007. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/7130666.stm |publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation |work=BBC News |title=Stonehenge tunnel plans scrapped |date=2007-12-06 |accessdate=2007-12-06]
A303/A358 South Petherton to M5 Taunton
In November 2004 plans to improve the route through the Blackdown Hills - an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty- were abandoned in favour of upgrading the A358 from Ilminster to the M5 motorwayat Tauntonto reduce traffic west of Ilminster. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/4051907.stm |title=Beauty spot saved from dual road |publisher=BBC News |date=2004-11-29 |accessdate=2007-04-08] Also incorporating plans to widen the Illminster bypass from South Pethertonto a dual 2 lane road, these have been subject of a public consultation in March 2007. [cite web |url=http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/14075.aspx |title=A303/A358 South Petherton to M5 Taunton |publisher=Highways Agency |accessdate=2007-11-04]
A number of other schemes along the A303 were considered,cite web|url=http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/network/strategic/programme/tpi/southwestregion|title=South West Region - Targeted programme of improvements|publisher=Highways Agency|accessdate=2008-01-20] but then canceled in 1998 [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/143017.stm |publisher=BBC News |title=Road scheme details in full |date=1998-07-31 |accessdate=2007-11-04]
* A30/A303 Marsh Honiton and A35 Honiton Eastern Bypass
* A303 Ilminster Bypass Improvement
* A303 Ilminster to Marsh Improvement
* A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Improvement
* A303 Wylye-Stockton Wood Improvement
* A303 Chicklade Bottom-Mere Improvement
The schemes were remitted to the London to South West and South Wales Multi-Modal Study (SWARMMS), the conclusion of the report was that all of the schemes east of
Ilminstershould go ahead and that to avoid building a dual carriageway through the Blackdown Hills the A358 should be upgraded to the M5 motorwayat Taunton. [http://www.swarmms.org.uk/documents/PLAN%20Lon-Exe%20corr%20v2.pdf] As of 2006 only the A303/A358 South Petherton to M5 Taunton improvement is considered a regional priority so no other improvements are likely to be funded before 2016. [http://www.southwest-ra.gov.uk/media/SWRA/RSPTG/12th%20January%202006/Paper_C1.xls]
The road in pop culture
Kula Shakerperformed their first impromptu gig at the Glastonbury Festival, which can be reached via the A303. They used this as the title of their song "303" [cite web |url=http://www.musicweb-international.com/encyclopaedia/k/K134.HTM |title=KULA SHAKER |work=MusicWeb Encyclopaedia of Popular Music |first=Donald |last=Clarke |accessdate=2007-11-04] on the album "K". It was also mentioned in the Levellers' song " Battle of the Beanfield", about the attack by police on travellers celebrating the Solstice at Stonehenge (1 June, 1995): "Down the '303 at the end of the road, Flashing lights, exclusion zones". A sign for the road was also featured on the label for the Universal IndicatorYellow album (see the [http://www.discogs.com/release/35224 Discogs link] ), perhaps a dual reference to the Roland TB-303synthesiser (featured heavily on Universal Indicator recordings) and to Cornwallthe home of Universal Indicator artist Richard D. James.Fact|date=November 2007
In an episode of the popular
BBCcomedy panel show Mock The Week, comedian John Oliverresponded to the prompt "Things A Frenchman would never say" with "My favourite road, now that's got to be the A303. In many ways it's quicker than the M4, and you get to go past Stonehenge. If you're going along to the West Country it's the A303 for me every time. What a road, what a road!"
* Clark, A., 2004, " [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/story/0,9061,1360805,00.html Darling to signal roadbuilding rethink] " in "
The Guardian", November 27, 2004
* [http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/3659.aspx Highways Agency - A303 Stonehenge Improvement]
* Department for Transport, 2005, " [http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=175616&NewsAreaID=2&NavigatedFromDepartment=False Way forward announced for A303 Stonehenge review] "
* " [http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/feb/23/tesco.supermarkets Arriving soon at Stonehenge: 480 trucks a day from Tesco's 'megashed'] ", The Guardian, Saturday February 23, 2008
* Clip of A303 in Mock The Week [http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fi3xqHEOCCE]
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