LOCAL businesses in Taunton have issued support to the A358 upgrades between Taunton and Southfields.

Currently an 8.5 mile section of the A358 between Southfields Roundabout on the A303 and the M5 at Taunton is set to become a dual carriageway through upgrade works.

Carlos Alfaro, general manager of the Corner House Hotel in Taunton has said: "The A358 has cause no ends of problems, it can sometimes take an hour or two, sometimes it can take 15 to 20 minutes, there is no certainty.

"The upgrade to the A358 is definitely supported by local businesses."

The 50-bedroom town centre hotel is right in the heart of Taunton has most of its visitors come by road.

"The bulk of our visitors come by road, Taunton is ideally located to visit most of the areas in Somerset," Alfaro added.

"To us, its a sign of commitment to Taunton. It is a sign that we will be able to move businesses forward and invest locally on the back of a positive statement that there will be greater access into town.

"It gives confidence to the people and the community."

Katherine Liddington, senior project manager for the A358 scheme, said: “We plan to upgrade approximately 8.5 miles of the A358 to a new high-quality and high-performing dual carriageway, which will reduce congestion, enhance safety and improve connectivity for road users and local communities, while unlocking economic growth in Somerset and beyond.

On the National Highways website, it states that: "Currently most of the A358 is a single lane and has many local roads and private accesses joining directly with it. It’s often congested and is a source of frustration for local people, and those using the road to travel longer distances.

"Many road users try to avoid the traffic congestion by diverting onto smaller local roads, which then increases the level of traffic in surrounding villages."

"To address this, we’re proposing to upgrade an 8.5 mile section of the A358 between Southfields Roundabout on the A303 and the M5 at Taunton, to a high quality dual carriageway."

The A358 Taunton to Southfields Dualling scheme is classified as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’ defined under the Planning Act 2008.