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Road Works Begin to Improve Ash Traffic Hotspots

Published on: 22 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 23 Jan, 2021

The road works at the A323/A324 junction on the Guildford Road at Ash

By David Reading

Work to ease congestion and improve air quality has begun on the A323 Guildford Road, at the junction with the A324 Pirbright Road in Ash. A controlled pedestrian crossing is being installed to increase safety.

These changes are part of a wider Guildford hotspots project, including improvements to the A31. A new slip lane for southbound vehicles on the A331 heading to travel eastbound on the A31, will be constructed. Drivers then won’t need to use the A331/A31 Runfold roundabout.

Traffic lights will also be installed to support pedestrians and cyclists to move through safely and the improved traffic flow on the bypass will help reduce congestion on neighbouring residential roads.

Tree clearance and vegetation start in the area this week to ensure necessary clearance works finishes before the bird-nesting season in February.

Guildford Borough Council, although not the responsible Highways Authority, say they identified and promoted the Blackwater Valley Hotspots Scheme in 2018 and subsequently secured LEP funding of approx. £2.0m towards the cost of the project.

Cllr John Rigg

Cllr John Rigg (R4GV, Holy Trinity) who holds the Regeneration and Major Projects portfolio, said: “GBC has promoted and designed the scheme and now have an arrangement with SCC where they would, as Highways Authority for the County with significant funding from GBC, deliver the final part of the project.

“The works will deliver significant highway capacity improvements and pedestrian and cyclist accessibility improvements.  In addition signalising the A31/A331  junction is key to reducing the number of injury accidents in this location.

“Guildford  Council is delighted to see this important scheme is now being delivered with financial contributions from both councils.”

Cllr Matt Furniss

SCC Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford), cabinet member for transport, said: “Both of these junctions are well-known traffic hotspots which often cause significant delays during peak times.

“The county council took on this project and put in significant investment to ensure these schemes, originally set up by Guildford Borough Council in 2018, can get going this week and help reduce congestion in busy areas.”

A “hotspot” is a junction with insufficient capacity for the volume of traffic, which has an adverse impact on the wider efficiency of the highway network. More information on the Guildford hotspots works is available here.

There was outcry last year when the borough council decided to shelve improvements at the Ash and Tongham hotspots because of financial restraints caused by the Covid pandemic.

Many residents said they were adamant that the improvements should go ahead because of the local housing explosion.

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner, (Con, South Ash and Tongham), added his voice to the protest and as a result Guildford Borough Council agreed to re-examine the matter.

Tongham resident John Ferns said at the time: “The Blackwater Valley Route, where it links with the Hog’s Back, is a well-documented hotspot, which is just getting worse. What members should be aware of, is that this junction is also a significant accident blackspot.”


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