ACTION is being demanded on the problems that plague one of the key roads in and out of Hampshire.

Two firms specialising in planning and transport say concerns about safety and congestion on the A34 have a “bafflingly low profile”.

The two sections of the A34 run 151 miles from Winchester to Salford in Manchester. The southern stretch forms a key part of the route from Southampton to the Midlands.

But planning and design specialist Barton Willmore and engineering consultancy Hydrock say the route is overlooked when it comes to strategic planning and investment.

They are calling on local authorities, Highways England, MPs and interest groups to come together and draw up an action plan.

Robin Shepherd, Southampton-based partner at Barton Willmore, said: “The A34 carries upwards of 50,000 vehicles a day and is a vital economic corridor, linking the business and trade centres of the Thames Valley and Midlands to the port gateways in the south.

“However, it is plagued by issues, including an average of eight accidents a month, and capacity challenges.

“Given that the A34 is vital to the prosperity and economic growth of the Thames Valley, Central South and the UK, it suffers from a bafflingly low profile. It’s simply not on the agenda in the debate about the future of our national and regional transport network.

“Our call for action is clear – we need a solution, and to achieve that we need joined-up thinking. The local authorities, agencies, statutory bodies, stakeholders and transport providers whose areas the A34 runs through need to come together and collaborate to find a comprehensive, effective and long-term answer.

“We know this is a challenge, and that the financial cost of tackling the A34 in a strategic, holistic way that truly drives growth and improves safety will be high – but we should not be looking at the cost of action, we should be considering its value. The cost of not acting may be far higher than any investment made to tackle the issues.”

Emily Pearson, technical director at Hydrock said: “A Freedom of Information request granted in 2018 revealed that there were 471 crashes on the route in five years – roughly eight a month. These accidents are coupled with regular traffic jams and capacity challenges at key interchanges

“It’s true that there have been some encouraging signs, including a proposed major upgrade of M3 Junction 9 and a new Oxford-bound bus lane on the A34 agreed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board.

“However, these are all conducted on a piecemeal basis, and real change is hamstrung by the lack of an overall strategy. We believe that a comprehensive, workable strategy is now long overdue, and to kickstart that process, the teams at Hydrock and Barton Willmore are focusing on the issue this year with a view to coming up with a viable action plan for change.”

A joint Barton Willmore and Hydrock event is to be held later this year to bring key stakeholders together to debate the problems and possible solutions.

To register interest in the event, email