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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The A27 is a major road in England. It runs from its junction with the A36 at Whiteparish (near Salisbury) in the county of Wiltshire. It closely parallels the south coast in Hampshire, then passes through West Sussex and terminates at Pevensey (near Eastbourne and Bexhill) in East Sussex.

It is the westernmost road in Zone 2 in the UK road numbering system.

Between Portsmouth and Lewes, it is one of the busiest trunk roads in the UK.


Historically, for longer distance movement along the south coast, the M25 in combination with the M2, M20, M23 / A23, A3 / A3(M) and M3 has provided an attractive alternative to the actual south coast route of A259, A27 and M27. In 2002 an offpeak journey between Margate and Southampton via the M25 took 2 hours 30 minutes, and via the coastal route using the A259, A27 and M27 took 3 hours 50 minutes.[1] The reason the coastal route is so much slower than the M25 alternative is largely due to a series of bottlenecks on the A27. These include Chichester, Arundel, Worthing and Polegate.[2]

The British government announced, in its 2013 spending review, that it would go ahead with improvements to the Chichester bypass.[3] The Highways Agency said that the proposals would be subject to public consultation in July 2015. The preferred route would then be announced in September 2015 and the plan would be to start construction in February 2018 with a completion date of December 2019.[4][5][6] However the timescales were then revised. There was a six-week public consultation period during Spring 2016. The proposed construction would then commence in March 2019 with a completion date of March 2021.[7] After five options were published and two dropped the government cancelled the whole project on 28 February 2017, citing lack of support from local authorities as the main reason.[8][9] Chichester Bypass is now scheduled to be included in "RP3".[a] A proposed scheme to bypass Lancing and Sompting (as well as other sections) was dropped in 1988.[11]

A proposed scheme to bypass Arundel was dropped in 2003, although the junction at the end of the dual carriageway has been partly made into an underpass.[12][13] However, the scheme was relaunched in Spring 2018 when Highways England announced their preferred route, choosing a "a modified version of Option 5A".[14] Although the document claims 48% of respondents support this option, there are worries that the new road may damage ancient woodland in the South Downs National Park.[15] With lots of protests about the western end destroying an ancient woodland, Highways England did further consultation in October 2019 and in October 2020 announced a new preferred route that is 8.8km long and avoids the South Downs National Park & ancient woodland entirely. It is due to be put before the planning inspectorate in Summer 2021, if successful construction will begin in Spring 2022 & be open in 2026.

At Worthing, where the possibility of a bypass has often been discussed since 1967, even getting as far as passing the inspector's report at a public inquiry, the plan was dropped in 1996 following rising costs.[16] Arundel and Worthing are both areas of known traffic congestion during times of peak usage.[2][17] Improvements to Worthing and Lancing are now committed under RP2.[a]

A bridge over the level crossing at Beddingham was completed on 22 August 2008.[18] The original proposal called for a dual carriageway standard link with a bridge over the crossing.[19] However, the actual project involved improving the original single carriageway road by providing two lanes westbound and one lane eastbound between the Southerham and Beddingham roundabouts.[18] More works are taking place in 2019-2021 between Beddingham and Polegate to improve the safety at junctions and provide an off-carriageway cycle track for the entire length. Lewes-Polegate has been included in RP3 [a] for a new offline limited access route.

Despite the limited improvements to the A27, it is still substantially quicker (usually more than an hour difference) to travel from Southampton to Margate via the M25 route compared to the coast route of A259, A27 and M27.[20][21]

Because of all the delays along its route, according to West Sussex County Council, the A27 is the most unreliable all purpose trunk road in England.[22] Further, it is widely considered by businesses on the coast to cost money and inhibit economic performance due to its unreliability and frequent congestion.[23]

Highways England commissioned a report by "Transport Focus" to undertake road user priorities. The South Central route, that is largely the A27, was one of the lower rated routes with 50% of users experiencing problems. Out of a list of strategic routes across the whole of England only two were rated worse than the South Central route: the M25 to Solent route (61%) and the London Orbital and M23 to Gatwick (58%). Further Highways England identified the A27 between Lancing and the A24; between Arundel and the A284; between the A23 and Polegate; also around Chichester as being some of worst performing links in the country for safety issues.[24] One accident victim was Actor Desmond Llewelyn, who portrayed Q in a large portion of the James Bond film series and was fatally injured in a car accident on the A27 in 1999, at Firle, on the A23 to Polegate section.[25]

There are several sections of the A27 that fall inside the Highways Agency nationwide top 250 collision rankings:[26]

  • A27 between Shoreham-by-Sea and Southwick – ranking 123
  • A27/A23 junction Brighton – ranking 158
  • A27 near the junction with the A2025 near Lancing – ranking 158
  • A27 Chichester By-Pass east of the city – ranking 202

Shoreham Airshow crash

At the Shoreham Airshow on 22 August 2015, a Hawker Hunter crashed into the A27, striking several vehicles and killing eleven people.[27] The road was completely closed for eight days and did not fully reopen until 16 September 2015.[28]


A27 north of Portsmouth, at its junction with the M27
A27 north of Portsmouth, at its junction with the M27

The road starts at its junction with the A36 at Whiteparish. It runs through Romsey, Chilworth, at which point it follows a Roman Road, Swaythling, West End and Bursledon. It then closely parallels the south coast and travels on via Fareham, Cosham, Havant, Chichester, Arundel, Worthing, Lancing, Shoreham-by-Sea, Hove, Brighton, Falmer, Lewes and Polegate where it then terminates at Pevensey in East Sussex.[29]

A section of the A27 running from the eastern end of the M27 to the end of the road at Pevensey forms part of, what was known as, the South Coast Trunk Road. Much of the road has been improved to dual carriageway standard, with the westernmost section of the trunk portion even having as much as four lanes plus a hard shoulder in each direction, and on a motorway alignment with grade-separated junctions. This is perhaps a reflection that the M27 was once proposed to run as far as Chichester.[30]

The road runs east from Portsmouth to Havant then on to the Warblington/ Emsworth exit. Beyond Warblington the dual carriageway east has no junctions in it until it reaches Chichester, where the by-pass has five roundabouts and one traffic signal controlled junction, that disrupt the mainline flow of the road.[4][31] The Chichester by-pass is regularly subject to congestion and although a public inquiry has proposed improvements, those improvements are currently on hold.[4]

East of Chichester the road largely retains a two-lane dual-carriageway standard. There are, however a couple of sections of single-carriageway; at Arundel and at Worthing.[32] These are both areas of known traffic congestion during times of peak usage.[33]

At the junction of the A27 and the A24, the A27 has a brief section where the road is designated 'A27' and 'A24' before continuing from the 'Grove Lodge' roundabout where the road is named "Upper Brighton Road".[29] After Worthing, the A27 passes Sompting on the Sompting Bypass before passing through Lancing where there are traffic lights and a roundabout which disrupt traffic flow. Just before the road crosses the River Adur near Shoreham via the 'Shoreham flyover' (constructed 1968-70[34]), there is a traffic light-controlled intersection close to Lancing College and the headquarters of Ricardo plc which was the scene of a fatal aircrash during the Shoreham Airshow 2015 on 22 August 2015, killing eleven people on the ground.[35] After the 'flyover' over the Adur, the A27 then runs past the Holmbush interchange (Shoreham-by-Sea) and on through the Southwick Hill Tunnel, at that point entering the City of Brighton and Hove, traditionally (though no longer administratively) part of East Sussex.

Later, it passes Brighton — where it is known as the Brighton Bypass [36] — and around the South Downs. The junction of the A23 and the A27 is often slow in the morning rush hour.

It then passes around Falmer with this section of road having three lanes in each direction but loses the third lane later. When Brighton and Hove Albion play at home this section can become congested due to its proximity to Falmer Stadium. The road passes into East Sussex proper just to the west of the Falmer junction.

Afterwards, it passes south of Lewes where it meets the A26 road to Newhaven.

Here, the road becomes a single carriageway standard and formerly crossed a level crossing until it was bypassed by a bridge which opened in 2008. The South Coast Multi-Modal Study (SoCoMMS) recommended a dual carriageway, but the Highways Agency built it to a cheaper single-carriageway standard. Plans are still proposed for upgrading this later.[32][37]

The road afterwards reverts to a dual carriageway with access to the A22, which provides links to Eastbourne and Hailsham.

The road then once again becomes a single carriageway near Pevensey, where the road ends, and the South Coast Trunk Road transfers over to the A259; this coast road starts in Emsworth and shadows the route of the A27.

Bexhill to Hastings link road

Work on the contentious Bexhill to Hastings link road commenced in early 2013 and was completed in late 2015. The road provides a more direct link from the A27 to the A28 road via the A259 road.[38]

Landmarks on the route

A27 crossing the Adur flyover, near Shoreham, West Sussex
A27 crossing the Adur flyover, near Shoreham, West Sussex

Proposed developments

  • Arundel Bypass RP1/2 (2015-2025)[a], and likely to start construction in Spring 2022
  • Worthing & Lancing Improvements RP1/2 (2015-2025)[a], improvements to junctions in the urban areas of Worthing and Lancing to increase capacity and improve safety.
  • Lewes - Polegate RP3 (2025-2030) There is also a recommendation to make the road a dual carriageway on an offline route.[32]
  • Chichester Bypass RP3 (2025-2030) Chichester Bypass has made it onto the shortlist of projects likely for RP3.

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e RP – Road Period.
    * RP1 is financial years 2015/16 to 2019/20 inclusive;
    * RP2 will be 2020/21 to 2024/25
    * RP3 will commence with 2025/26. which means it is planned to be constructed between 2025 & 2030, consultation should begin after 2023.[10]


  1. ^ "South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study" (PDF). UK Government. 2002. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study" (PDF). UK Government. 2002. p. 29. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  3. ^ "George Osborne commits to A27 works at Chichester". Chichester: Chichester Observer. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "A27 Chichester Improvement". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Arundel Bypass review". Littlehampton Gazette. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  6. ^ "West Sussex A27 Action Plan". Chichester: WSCC. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  7. ^ "A27 Chichester Improvement". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  8. ^ "A27 Chichester Improvement". Highways Agency. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  9. ^ "A27 upgrade cancelled". Chichester Observer. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  10. ^ Department of Transport (2020). Road Investement Strategy 2020-2025 (PDF). Department of Transport. ISBN 978-1-5286-1678-2. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  11. ^ "A27 BY-Pass project October 1988". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  12. ^ "A27 upgrade calls". Chichester Observer. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Arundel Bypass — Hansard". UK Government. 2000. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  14. ^ "A27 Arundel Bypass Preferred route announcement" (PDF). Highways England. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Highways England reveals £250m Arundel bypass route". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Highway to Hell". Worthing: The Argus. 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  17. ^ "West Sussex Transport Plan 2011-2026". West Sussex County Council. p. 29. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  18. ^ a b "A27 Southerham to Beddingham". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  19. ^ "South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study" (PDF). UK Government. 2002. pp. 137–138. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  20. ^ "Southampton to Margate via M25". Google Maps. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  21. ^ "Southampton to Margate via A27". Google Maps. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  22. ^ "West Sussex Transport Plan 2011-2026". West Sussex County Council. p. 28. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  23. ^ "West Sussex Transport Plan 2011-2026". p. V. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  24. ^ "South Coast Central Route Strategy March 2017" (PDF). Highways England. 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Road death of Q actor accidental". London, United Kingdom: Guardian News and Media Limited. 14 June 2000. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  26. ^ "A27 CORRIDOR FEASIBILITY STUDY REPORT 1 OF 3: EVIDENCE REPORT" (PDF). Highways Agency. 2015. p. 36. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Shoreham air crash death toll 'rises to 11'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Shoreham A27 fully reopens after air crash". BBC News. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  29. ^ a b "A27 route". Google Maps. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  30. ^ "Map of Original Plans for M27". Pathetic Motorways. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  31. ^ Google map of Chichester retrieved 3 March 2012
  32. ^ a b c "South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study" (PDF). UK Government. 2002. pp. 21–22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  33. ^ "Those A27 traffic jams have to ease". The Argus. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  34. ^ "A27 flyover under construction in 1969 near to Shoreham Airport". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Shoreham air crash death toll 'rises to 11'". BBC News. 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  36. ^ By-pass: First proposed in 1932, My Brighton and Hove, Tim Carder, 1990
  37. ^ "A27 Southerham to Beddingham". Highways agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  38. ^ "Bexhill-Hastings road-protest". Guardian Newspapers. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.

This page was last edited on 7 April 2021, at 13:34
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