Work has begun on part of the long-awaited Bognor Regis relief road.
The first phase of the construction of the road’s North Bersted section started on Monday (June 11).
It should take 15 months to complete the 1.7km stretch of the single carriageway between the A259 Chichester Road and Rowan Way.
The signal for the start came when West Sussex County Council agreed the final design of the road with the site six housebuilders, Berkeley Homes and Persimmon Homes, to pave the way for a legal agreement for the section. The road, including the Chichester Road roundabout built last year, will cost about £4.2m.
John O’Brien, the county council’s deputy cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Delivering this new relief road is the key to unlocking the potential of this part of West Sussex.
“For years, the local business community have informed us that building the road was vital for the regeneration of the area. So we are delighted to announce this is happening.”
The road will stretch for 1.7km and be able to carry more than 15,000 vehicles a day. It will be built in two phases. The first section will see an embankment built over three months from recycled earth to reach about 4m high, 20m wide and one kilometre long to carry much of the road’s eastern length.
The embankment and new road will bisect Shripney Lane and turn it into two cul-de-sacs with new turning and cycling facilities.
Phase two will start about six months after the ground beneath the embankment has settled and can support the weight of the road and its traffic.
Any surplus material will be removed to form the foundation of the new road. At its highest point, it will be about 2m above the existing ground level once the embankment has settled.
The second phase will include building the carriageway and the Rowan Way roundabout.
Bersted Parish Council chairman Tony Kemp said the start of the road was good news.
“This has been a long time coming and will benefit all of Bognor. It should alleviate the traffic along the existing A259 through North Bersted by 40 per cent, which should provide some relief to those residents.
“If we want to attract new businesses to Bognor, such as on the former Lec airfield site, we need to have a good road infrastructure.
“Firms want to be able to get their staff and their goods in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible. The existing roads are not good enough for that,” he said.
He said the only concern he had about the new road was the pressure it would create on the A29 Shripney Road around the Halfords roundabout with the new Sainsbury’s set to add more controls to the traffic flow.
The Felpham section of the relief road between the new A29 roundabout and the proposed Stanover Lane roundabout is expected to be ready towards late 2014.