Multi-million pound junction on A24 at Broadbridge Heath unveiled

New road improvement scheme on the A24 at Broadbridge Heath officially opened (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150616-172257008
New road improvement scheme on the A24 at Broadbridge Heath officially opened (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150616-172257008

A multi-million pound road scheme on the A24 near Broadbridge Heath could ease traffic on the road during rush hour, a councillor has said.

The new road bridge and link roads, which remain closed to the public until later this summer, were unveiled on Tuesday (June 16).

The scheme is part of a 2,000 home development to the west of Horsham, including homes in Wickhurst Green to the west of the A24 adjoining Broadbridge Heath, and Highwood to the road’s east, near Horsham.

The new junction, on the A24 at Highwood Hill, links the developments and includes two roundabouts.

John O’Brien, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said the road development would ease pressure on Broadbridge Heath.

He said: “This hopefully will alleviate some of the rush hour traffic and allow traffic to get on the A24 easier.

“I think one of the key things going forward is when there is a demand for housing, having an appropriate infrastructure in place is very important.

“It is quite impressive, what they have actually done.”

The junction will connect the two major housing developments either side of the road.

The scheme also includes a replacement foot bridge for pedestrians.

Mr O’Brien lives in East Grinstead and said he often uses the stretch of road when travelling to Chichester on council business.

He said: “It is great credit to all involved that the scheme has been done with the minimal disruption to the public and local businesses.

“It is very important and I think it demonstrates that we need to work together as a partnership to improve something as we have here.”

He also said the new housing, built by developers Countryside Properties and Berkeley Homes, could improve the village.

He added: “People in Broadbridge Heath will migrate into this.

“The benefits it will bring will have a community centre, new sports facilities and a primary school.

“Some people in the village may not welcome the changes and others will embrace the change.”

Tricia Youtan (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham), chairman of Horsham District Council, said time will tell whether the road scheme will be successful.

She said: “It is very necessary. We have a real problem with traffic which is going to be exacerbated by the new developments and this was very much needed.

“I think the main thing that affects our villages is the rat running. That does affect the villages as people struggle to find shorter roads, they inevitably find country roads.

“The hope is that this will nullify the need for that.”

Civil engineering company Breheny has been building the new junction since June 2014.

Andrew Carrington, managing director of strategic lands at Countryside, said: “The feedback has been universally positive.

“We can’t solve every problem in the traffic network by just doing a junction and a relief road but it will provide a better network going forward.

“Only when the road is finally opened will we see the benefits, and we are nearly there.”

The blue foot bridge is already complete. It was lifted into place in January north of the existing foot bridge.

A steam bus provided by Horsham Traction Company escorted some visitors to the new road bridge.

Chris Gilbert, managing director of Berkeley Homes Southern said: “Thanks to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in the project, including West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Broadbridge Heath Parish Council and the main contractors Breheny.

“We are opening the project considerably ahead of schedule. This is great news for the travelling public and local community who have been especially patient during these works.”

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