The contract has been awarded to Taylor Woodrow after a competitive procurement process through Highways England’s Regional Delivery Partnership framework.
The portion of the route to be upgraded on the A358 lies between the M5 at Taunton and the Southfields roundabout on the A303.
Collaborating with Arup and Ramboll, Taylor Woodrow has undertaken preparatory works along with ground investigation and environmental surveys in the area to inform the authorities about their design proposals.
All of this is to set the platform for a statutory consultation regarding the proposals before submitting the scheme’s application for the Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate.
Highways England programme leader for the A358 Andrew Alcorn said: “Taylor Woodrow has an extensive track record working with Highways England and delivering large scale infrastructure projects, so we are confident they will deliver a scheme that will support economic growth, improve traffic flows at peak times and make the road safer.”
Taylor Woodrow managing director Julian Gatward said: “Taylor Woodrow Plus brings together the expertise of Taylor Woodrow, Arup and Ramboll in delivering solutions from conception through to construction.
“Supported by Taylor Woodrow’s VINCI sister companies, we are committed to contributing to the local community whilst supporting economic growth in the area.”
This upgrade plan is crucial to the A303/A358 corridor and is part of the long-term target to build a high-quality dual carriageway linking London, the south east, and the south west.
Although most of the route is a dual carriageway, more than 35 miles of single carriageway still remain, acting as traffic bottlenecks.
Highways England has spotted the problem and proposed to upgrade about nine miles of the A358 between Southfields roundabout on the A303 and the M5 in Taunton, Somerset county, to top-class dual carriageway.
As about 24,800 vehicles travel along the route every day, this upgrade will also provide direct access to the Nexus 25 development near Taunton, while traffic through Henlade will decrease by almost 90%.
Somerset County Council Economic and Community Infrastructure lead director Paula Hewitt said: “It’s great to see this significant step forward with the project. The A358/A303 is an important transport corridor, and this long-awaited and vital improvement will provide a massive boost for the economy of Somerset, as well as improving connectivity and travel times.”
This upgrade news comes on the heels of 2020’s Development Consent Order approval of the A303 Stonehenge upgrade and the January 2021 approval of the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester project, both of which run along the same corridor.