Hampshire County Council has announced that it intends to improve and expand the A326. On the edge of the New Forest, running parallel to Southampton Water, the 11.2 mile-long road has been subject to rising congestion, which the Council claims its plans will reduce. Anticipated to cost £8.1 million, the project is planned to last 18 months. Work is planned to begin on the 1st December, while preliminary surveys and excavations are were planned to start on the 20th October.
The project is intended to achieve three main objectives: the improvement of capacity and the reduction of congestion, improving the resilience of the network (which will apparently “unlock economic growth” according to the council), and protecting the environments of the New Forest. This last aim will apparently be achieved by keeping traffic on the main routes through the National Park.
Phase one of the works is scheduled to be complete by late Spring 2021, and will consist of the widening of approaches and exits to the Holbury, Hardley, Applemore and Dibden Roundabouts. The Second phase is aimed at expanding turning facilities and approaches at other junctions, with 8 in total earmarked for improvement.
The announcement follows the approval of plans to redevelop the old Fawley power station, and is being funded jointly by the Solent Economic Partnership and the Fawley Waterside Limited Company. The latter is contributing £2.4million, while the Partnership are putting up the remaining £5.7 million.
In the meantime, the Fawley power station is set to become 1,500 new homes, along with commercial and community facilities.