London & South East

Major road investment well underway

The scheme to widen a 2.5 mile stretch of the A23 between Handcross to Warninglid in West Sussex is now well underway, with the first phase nearing completion.

The £76 million scheme will see the main route widened to three lanes in each direction; lanes have been temporarily narrowed with a 40mph speed limit in place to allow construction works.

Preparatory environmental work began in April 2011, which saw the road shut for six nights a week for three weeks. This was followed by clearing the site and felling trees in November 2011 to prepare the site for the widening.

The Highways Agency said that this stretch of the road is used by 70,000 vehicles a day and is the only part of the A23 between the M23 and the Sussex coast that has never been improved.

As of this month the first phase of southbound carriageway temporary widening, including rebuilding the eastern and central sections of the southbound Slaugham Bridge have been completed. In addition to the new accesses to the East Park and Stanbridge properties, the earthworks and drainage to the new Warninglid northbound junction, two balancing ponds near the closed Slaugham junction and 1500 metres of water mains pipes and 900 metres of electricity cables have been diverted.

The bad weather through the latter part of 2012 has affected the Highway Agency’s planned programme so they have reviewed their construction schedule to enable the improvements to be complete as planned by autumn 2014.

Permanent traffic management with narrow lanes remains in place on both carriageways and a speed limit of 40mph is in place for the safety of road users and the workforce. Average speed cameras continue to monitor the speed and it has been found that over 99% of road users are complying with the speed limit.

A third portable Variable Message Sign has been installed on site which can display warning messages including alerting customers of any broken down or stranded vehicles on the carriageway. An Impact Protection Vehicle is now available as an additional measure to assist with protecting customers at vehicle breakdowns.

Overnight lane closures and full carriageway closures have been taking place; a fully signed diversion route is in place for the overnight closures, between junction 11 of the M23 and the A272 at Bolney, via the A264, A24 and A272.

This year, crossovers in the central reserve are being built which will enable a switch in traffic between carriageways to maintain two lanes in both directions on one carriageway in contraflow. This will allow work to continue on the opposite carriageway free of traffic. It is intended for the Warninglid northbound slip roads to be reopened before the end of April.

Starting later in 2013, the slip roads at Handcross will need to closed while the junction is being rebuilt. To tie in with the VOSA weigh bridge reconstruction works, the closure of the slip roads will need to be staggered and in place for around six month. Access to all properties and businesses on both slip roads from Handcross village will be kept open during the closures.

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