Wiltshire drivers using the A303 in Somerset stand to benefit from a new road layout this month as the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester dualling scheme continues to move forward.

They should make the major route safer and easier to use, says National Highways.

To allow for National Highways to carry out the next stage of essential work, changes in the layout of the road around the Yeovilton Junction and Steart Hill Junction are needed.

Specifically, the government-owned company needs to move traffic onto the newly built eastbound carriageway to allow space to build the new westbound dual carriageway.

The changes will affect the road between the Podimore roundabout and the Steart Hill Junction. 

Wiltshire Times: A303 improvements - changes at Steart Hill to A303 road layoutA303 improvements - changes at Steart Hill to A303 road layout (Image: National Highways)

The changes include:

  • Eastbound traffic on the A303 will travel from Podimore roundabout and follow traffic management to take them on to the new eastbound carriageway of the A303;
  • Westbound traffic on the A303 will switch from the west bound carriageway at Steart Hill and will run temporarily on the new east bound carriageway of the A303;
  • Local traffic will have different entry and exit points to the A303. The newly built Steart Hill overbridge will be open, connecting the community of Downhead to villages to the south of the A303,

Siân Hopkins, National Highways’ Senior Project Manager for the A303 Sparkford scheme, said: “We appreciate the A303 is a well-used road, and we are keeping disruption to an absolute minimum. 

“We understand roadworks and changes in road layout can be frustrating, but we’ve communicated the traffic switch well in advance to local communities.

“We’re ensuring access is maintained for residents and business, and we’ll be keeping people fully informed as we continue to progress with the scheme.

“We thank people in advance for their co-operation and patience and in the meantime, we advise drivers to plan ahead and allow a little extra time for their journeys during this work.” 

The switchover will happen overnight under a full closure of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester.

The closure will be in place between 9pm on Friday, January 19 until 6am on Saturday, January 20. During this closure, access will remain for residents with direct access onto the A303 and a signed diversion will be in place for all other traffic.

Wiltshire Times: An artist’s impression of the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester dualling schemeAn artist’s impression of the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester dualling scheme (Image: National Highways)

Once completed, the route will make this section of the A303 safer for all users, while protecting the environment by minimising the impact on the surrounding landscape.  

The £155m scheme between Sparkford and Ilchester will not only promote economic growth in this area of Somerset, but it will also tackle a long-standing bottleneck, reduce journey times to the South West and improve traffic flows in the area at peak times and during peak seasons.

On an average day, the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester carries 23,500 vehicles but numbers increase significantly in the summer, particularly at weekends, making journeys unreliable and unpredictable.