A358 Taunton to Southfields
We’re proposing to upgrade the A358 to dual carriageway between Southfields Roundabout on the A303 and the M5 at Taunton. The delivery of this scheme is part of a long term aim to create a high-quality dual carriage way link between London and the South East and the South West.
The A303/A358 corridor is a vital connection between the South West and London and the South East. While much of the corridor is a dual carriageway, there are still over 35 miles of single carriageway. These sections act as congestion bottlenecks, particularly in the summer months and at weekends, causing delays to road users, and they add to an increased risk of accidents.
Currently most of the A358 is a single lane and has many local roads and private accesses joining directly with it. It’s often congested and is a source of frustration for local people, and those using the road to travel longer distances.
Many road users try to avoid the traffic congestion by diverting onto smaller local roads, which then increases the level of traffic in surrounding villages.
To address this, we’re proposing to upgrade an 8.5 mile section of the A358 between Southfields Roundabout on the A303 and the M5 at Taunton, to a high quality dual carriageway.
In 2019 we made our preferred route announcement for the improvement scheme, confirming that we’ll be taking a modified version of the pink option forward. You can find out more about the options consultations and the chosen route.
In delivering the scheme, we’re aiming to:
- improve the capacity of the road to reduce delays and queues that occur during peak hours and at key times of the year i.e. the height of summer.
- support economic growth, facilitating growth in jobs and housing by providing a free-flowing and reliable connection between the South East and the South West
- make the road safer, by providing additional capacity and reducing driver stress. We’ll also improve routes for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders in the area.
- protect the environment and look for opportunities to improve it, minimising any unnecessary impact of the scheme on the surrounding natural and historic environment and landscape
- work with local communities to reduce the impact of the road in terms of community severance, and look for ways to improve local peoples’ quality of life
- make journey times more reliable and resilient; by providing more capacity it will become easier to manage traffic when incidents occur
Upgrading the A358: Travel, tourism and the visitor economy
We have launched our A358 Somerset Stories series, setting out the positive economic and quality of life benefits that can be achieved through improved road connectivity in the region.
The South West’s economy is under-performing compared to the rest of the UK. Local councils and business leaders agree that upgrading the rest of the A303/A358 corridor to dual carriageway would help improve the South West’s connections to neighbouring regions.
The upgraded A358 would improve safety, create opportunities, keep people connected, future-proof the route and facilitate a growth in jobs, investment and housing.
Watch our videos below to find out more about how an upgraded A358 could help deliver positive change in Somerset!
In the first of a series of videos about the proposed upgrade to the A358, we’re looking at the benefits that this could bring in the summer months. Did you know that one in every two jobs is reliant on tourism in some parts of Somerset?
In Somerset and the wider south west we see lots of people travelling around the region to get away for a relaxing break, and the positive impact that this tourism brings to the local economy, known as the ‘visitor economy’.
Giles Adams, the Chair of Visit Somerset (https://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/) explains why improving the A358 is so important for visitors who travel to the region and the wider benefits that this would bring.
“If we see an upgrade to the A358, there will be a lot of positives for hotels and attractions” Giles said “This will all filter down into other areas…farming, produce that ends up from field to plate. So it is really a great opportunity”.
The second video in our seven-part series looks at the visitor economy and how an upgraded A358 will unlock new opportunities. Carlos Alfaro, General Manager at the Corner House Hotel explains how the A358 dualling scheme will attract new investment and improve travel to and from Taunton for visitors and local people.
“To us it’s a sign of commitment to Taunton. It’s a sign that we will be able to move businesses forward and invest locally on the back of a positive statement that there will be greater access into town. It gives confidence to the people and the community."
Upgrading the A358 – local air quality
This week, our A358 Somerset Stories video explores local air quality and the impact it can have on the quality of life for local communities.
Henlade is a village located around one mile from Taunton. It has to cope with poor air quality caused by frequent congestion on the current A358 road. The area has some of the worst air pollution in Somerset, resulting in it being declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
The upgraded A358 would reduce traffic and congestion from a number of local roads and villages. In Henlade for example, we hope to see average daily traffic reducing from 33,500 vehicles to 4,000 by 2038, providing the opportunity for the AQMA to be improved.
We spoke to Doug Lowe, a representative of Ruishton and Thornfalcon Parish Council to find out more about the current issues, and how the upgrades we propose could improve quality of life in Henlade and other areas.
Upgrading the A358 – business benefits
Somerset is home to a diverse range of businesses. Many of these, such as those in manufacturing, agriculture, logistics and independent traders, rely on the A358 to operate their businesses effectively.
In our latest video, Emma Rawlings, Executive Director of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, explains the issues businesses currently face while using the A358 and the opportunities that could open up if the road is upgraded.
Upgrading the A358 - Benefits to the South West
The current A358 acts as a bottleneck, putting off visitors and preventing businesses moving to the South West.
Peninsula Transport chair Cllr Andrea Davis explain the positive benefits of upgrading the strategic road.
Driving Regional Growth
Ian Harrison, Transport Advisor for Heart of the South West LEP, explains why the A358 Taunton to Southfields Dualling Scheme is so important for enabling businesses in the South West to invest and grow.
Upgrading the A358 - Somerset Stories
The final video in our series summarises the comments from the previous six videos. You will hear from a local hotel business, Peninsular Transport, Visit Somerset, Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and a local Parish Council outlining why the A358 upgrade is necessary and welcomed.
They talk about benefits of the scheme, such as opening up opportunities for local businesses and regional growth, the importance of tourism and the visitor economy, and how reducing congestion will improve local air quality.
A303/A358 corridor map (pdf)