Prior to the start of construction on the Sparkford-Ilchester project in September, Highways England will update communities and users of the latest progress and plans.

This week there will be a virtual exhibition where residents along the route can find out more and ask questions to the project team.

Hannah Sanderson, Program Manager for Highways England said:

The project is incredibly important to the future of Somerset, critical to the A303 / A358 corridor and, along with the A303 Stonehenge tunnel project, is part of the largest investment in our road network in a generation.

From a project perspective, it is exciting that we are about to start work in September, that the program supports economic growth and enables jobs and living space to grow thanks to a flowing and reliable connection between the south-east and south-west.

In addition, a long-term bottleneck will be eliminated, travel times to the southwest will be shortened and the flow of traffic there will be improved at peak times and in the main season.

While closings will be kept to a minimum, local residents are sure to have questions about the latest plans and traffic management, so we encourage everyone to take part in the virtual exhibition.

The virtual exhibition runs on Thursday July 22nd and Friday July 23rd from 12pm to 8pm, where people can ask questions via live chat.

You can visit the virtual exhibit with a link that will be available on our A303 Sparkford to Ilchester website starting Thursday July 22nd.

Anyone unable to log in that day can leave a comment about the exhibition or contact us by email at or by phone on 0300 123 5000. The exhibition remains live and will be updated regularly throughout the construction phase.

Lee Nathan, chairman of the South West Regional Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said:

The expansion of the single-lane sections of this important route is of decisive importance for the south-west economy, especially since the only alternative route via the M4 and M5 in the south-west is already heavily congested.

FSB believes that more investment should be made to improve key A-road links across the UK to support our local regional economy.

We therefore wholeheartedly support this new program.

On an average day, 23,500 vehicles are carried on the road, but in the summer, especially on weekends, the numbers increase significantly, making journeys unreliable and unpredictable.

The upgrade, which costs £ 130 to 160 million, is slated to open to traffic in 2024, with further information events planned for the future.

In the meantime, newsletters will be issued throughout the program and updates will be available on the A303 website from Sparkford to Ilchester.

The upgrade aims to:

  • improve the capacity of the road to reduce delays and queues that occur during rush hour and important times of the year, e.g. B. occur in midsummer
  • Supporting economic growth, facilitating the growth of jobs and housing by providing a free flowing and reliable link between the Southeast and the Southwest
  • make the road safer by providing additional capacity and reducing driver stress. We make the routes safer for pedestrians, cyclists and riders in the area
  • protect the environment and seek ways to improve it so as to minimize unnecessary impact of the program on the surrounding natural and historical environment and landscape
  • Work with local communities to reduce the impact of the street on community spirit and find ways to improve the quality of life for local people
  • Making travel times more reliable and resilient by providing more capacity will make it easier to manage traffic when incidents occur

Work will begin in September with construction clearance and earthworks as well as the preparation of the building site, with traffic routing not planned until the beginning of next year and holiday traffic in 2021, especially in the middle of the semester, will only be minimally affected.

Main construction work will begin in 2022, with closings kept to a minimum throughout the measure. A text warning system will be introduced next year for those who want to stay informed.

Further along the A303 corridor, archaeological fieldwork and preparatory work for Highways England’s redesigning Amesbury-Berwick-Down scheme behind Stonehenge is slated to begin later this year, with the five-year main construction phase expected to begin in late 2022, early 2023.

In the meantime, we have advanced the procurement process for the main construction contract for the A303 Stonehenge project and a preferred bidder is expected to be announced in early 2022.

General Inquiries

The public should contact the Highways England Customer Contact Center on 0300 123 5000.

Media inquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England Press Office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.