Residents fear there could be 18 months of traffic “hell”, with roadworks to start on transforming a major A-road into a dual carriageway.

The final phases of the A350 dualling project at Chippenham began with preliminary works in January.

These initial works were scheduled to be completed by mid-March, and construction on dualling the road could now start from May 6.

Roadworks are due to take place, from Lackham to Chequers Roundabout and Bumpers Farm to the Cepen Park South Roundabout, between then and November 1, 2025.

According to the council’s roadworks map, this will include narrowing lanes to allow new carriageway construction.

A temporary traffic order from May 6 will also allow 40mph speed limits to be implemented on the route as and when required for the project to start.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Preliminary A350 works in JanuaryPreliminary A350 works in January (Image: Trevor Porter)

During this time, these sections of the bypass will be turned into a dual carriageway, completing a project years in the making.

There will also be alterations to Bumpers Farm Roundabout, including increasing capacity by adding extra lanes and traffic lights on the A350 and A420.

While the council hopes the scheme will improve congestion on the A-road in the long term, some residents feel the lengthy works will cause traffic issues.

Speaking about the start of the roadworks on Facebook, one said: “The whole Bumpers Farm Roundabout scheme is going to be HELL until 2025.

“Two years of roadworks outside my house with the road coming closer.”

Another added: “Realistically, the benefits to Chippenham residents will be minimal though they and everyone else will have to tolerate at least a year of traffic congestion during construction.

“Those that gain by cutting maybe a minute or so off their journey times between M4 and Lackham will merely get to the queue at Beanacre a bit sooner.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Preliminary A350 works in JanuaryPreliminary A350 works in January (Image: Trevor Porter)

Cllr Nick Holder, the cabinet member for highways, insisted the project will benefit drivers moving forward.

He said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these works, but this final phase of the Chippenham A350 dualling scheme will reduce journey times and congestion on this key Wiltshire road.

“Preliminary works have already taken place ahead of the main construction, which is expected to begin in spring 2024 and end in autumn 2025, subject to the approval of the Full Business Case by the Department for Transport.

“Public information events will be held before the main works begin to share more information on the scheme’s benefits, how we are mitigating disruption, and what traffic management arrangements will be in place.”