A23 Handcross to Warninglid

Project status:   Current

Start date:   October 2011
End date:  Between October and November 2014

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  £79 million


Current Progress: December 2014 

The scheme has now been substantially completed as the widened A23 opened in stages between 5 and 6 October. Minor works will now continue into December to complete the pedestrian/cycle/equestrian route alongside the scheme and other minor outstanding issues.

Traffic Management

Permanent traffic management has now been removed and the national speed limit once again applies on this section of the route and the free breakdown recovery system has been removed. A fully signed diversion route is in place for the overnight closures, between M23 junction 11 and A272 at Bolney, via the A264, A24 and A272.

Details of any closures and diversions can be viewed under Journey Impact

What is happening?

We are working to widen the A23 between Handcross and Warninglid. Key features of the widening between Handcross and Warninglid are:

Approximately 2.4 miles (3.8 km) of dual three-lane carriageway to replace the existing dual two-lane carriageway between Handcross and Warninglid junctions, located generally within the existing highway boundary. There is no main carriageway lighting or lay-bys.

  • Closure of direct local residential and commercial accesses and provision of alternative access routes to improve safety.
  • Revised junctions at Handcross and Warninglid including rebuilding the DVSA weighbridge site at Handcross.
  • A two-way service road from Warninglid to provide access to commercial and residential properties on the west side of the A23.
  • A footway/cycleway between Handcross and Warninglid with connections to the local footpath network between Slaugham and Warninglid. Equestrians will also be able to use the route between Slaugham and Warninglid.
  • Traffic monitoring of local roads before, during and after construction to assess any affects of the closure of Slaugham junction on the local network.

When and where is this happening?

This widening is located on the A23 trunk road from the B2110 junction at Handcross to the B2115 junction at Warninglid, south of Crawley, in West Sussex. Work started in October 2011 and the widening of the A23 was completed on 6 October. The improvements are broadly along the line of the existing A23 and have been provided in accordance with modified Orders and an Environmental Statement, approved in March 2010.

We have recently completed a programme to re-surface extensive lengths of the A23 either side of the widening scheme. These works were carried out overnight when the A23 between M23 Junction 11 and A272 at Bolney was closed and these closures will continue into December whilst we complete other outstanding works on the A23. The widening remains fully open with three lanes in each direction during the day. Full details are available on the Journey Impact page.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

In the period between 2009 and May 2012 there were 42 accidents involving personal injuries, three of which were serious. Pedestrian and cyclist facilities in the area were also limited and involved negotiating both carriageways.

A scheme to widen the route to dual three-lane standard with a fourth crawler lane was considered, but abandoned following a Public Inquiry in the 1990s. Further studies to assess the environmental impact were undertaken and a revised on-line widening scheme, which reduced the environmental effects, was developed. Revised draft Orders for the amended scheme were published in November 2008 and considered at a Public Inquiry in June 2009. The Secretary of State’s decision to proceed with the scheme following the Inquiry and subject to modifications, was published in March 2010.

The estimated outturn cost of £77 million was approved by the Secretary of State in May 2012 prior to the start of construction. The current forecasted cost for this scheme is £79 million as at the end of October 2014.

How will the scheme be carried out?

Advance works started in April 2011 and we commenced main works with a full site clearance in October and November 2011. Civil engineering works started in early July 2012, and since then we have completed the new access tracks to EastPark and Stanbridge; opened the service road (Nursery Lane); completed the northbound carriageway and transferred all A23 traffic onto it from the southbound carriageway. We have built the new equestrian subway, which will be opened shortly, and three other river and environmental tunnels beneath the northbound carriageway and also opened the new junctions between the northbound A23 and the B2110 at Handcross and the B2115 at Warninglid.

Progress was delayed by poor weather through the later part of 2012, so alternative engineering solutions were adopted to enable works at Warninglid northbound slip roads to progress through the winter of 2012/13. Additional cross-over points between the southbound and northbound carriageways were provided to enable greater flexibility for managing traffic between the two carriageways. This enabled the construction programme to be rephased and the combined effect of these changes has led to time being recovered and we were able to switch the contraflow to the northbound carriageway at the end of January as originally planned. We have now been able to complete the widening as originally planned in Autumn 2014.

What are the benefits?

The Handcross to Warninglid scheme is intended to improve traffic flow by widening the existing road and improve safety by bringing the road up to modern standards.

How do I find out more information ?

More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

Details of scheduled roadworks are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Will there be roadworks?

Yes, roadworks are necessary overnight to complete the outstanding works and details are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather and resource dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Saturday 13 December to Sunday 14 December 201420:00 - 06:00Northbound Handcross on and off slip closed15 minutes
Monday 8 December to Friday 19 December 2014 (Monday to Friday only)20:00 - 06:00Northbound carriageway closed30 minutes

How will you manage traffic?

Full overnight closures are scheduled to take place between 20:00 hrs and 06:00 hrs and are shown in the table above and the diversion route whilst these closures are in place is described below. Where there are lane closures overnight, the carriageway remains open.

All closures will be announced in advance on our website and we will endeavour to advise last minute changes if weather and resource force a change in plans (you may subscribe to updates). We apologise in advance for the inconvenience and disruption this may cause you.

Access to local business on the A23.

If you are planning to visit the local business on the A23, at Waterstream, 4 Front Car Sales and the Handcross Garden Centre, road users are advised that access is now via the new service road called Nursery Lane. Customers can reach Nursery Lane by leaving the A23 at Warninglid junction from both the north and the south and following the signs from the new roundabout at the junction with the northbound A23.

Access to Handcross Market Garden Centre (the “statue shop”) is available from Brighton Road. Please note when visiting this business you can only turn into it from Brighton Road and must turn south onto A23 when leaving.


Will there be diversions?

Fully signed diversions will be necessary during carriageway closures when, the road will be closed between junction 11 of the M23 and the A272 at Bolney.

The diversion routes are as follows:

Southbound traffic will be diverted off the M23 at junction 11, then via the A264 to Horsham, A24 to West Grinstead and A272 via Cowfold to the rejoin the A23 at Bolney.

The Warninglid B2115 southbound entry slip road will remain open for traffic to join the A23.

Northbound traffic will be diverted off the A23 at A272 Bolney Junction then via A272, to West Grinstead A24 to Horsham and A264 towards Crawley to rejoin the M23 at junction 11 at Pease Pottage.

Cyclist and pedestrian diversions

A new dedicated cyclist and pedestrian route alongside the widened A23 will be opened shortly. The section of the route between Warninglid and Staplefield Road at Slaugham can also be used by equestrians. This is nearing completion and will be opened as soon as possible.

Tenders announcedSpring 2005
Contract awarded to Carillion PLC & Jacobs UK under Early Contractor InvolvementJune 2005
Funding delayed for three years following SE Regional Board recommendationsJuly 2006
Draft Orders publishedLate 2008
Public Inquiry heldJune 2009
Consultation undertaken December 2009 - January 2010
Secretary of State announces scheme changes following consultation15 March 2010
Scheme deferred for consideration as part of the Government Spending ReviewMay 2010
Secretary approves scheme for constructionOctober 2010
Optimised programme for delivery developed to bring in efficiency savingsOctober 2010 - April 2011
Confirmation of start of workApril 2011
Seasonally sensitive advance environmental work beginsApril 2011
Start of Works (site clearance) October - November 2011
Environmental mitigation workWinter 2011 - July 2012
Main civil engineering works commencedEarly July 2012
Completion of wideningOctober 2014

Business Case




A23 Handcross to Warninglid Newsletter - March 2013
Our latest Newsletter bringing you upto-date with progress on the A23 widening scheme.
A23 Handcross to Warninglid - Newsletter No. 2 - May 2004
To access this document please visit The National Archive website
A23 Handcross to Warninglid - Newsletter No. 1 - May 2003
To access this document please visit The National Archive website



A23 Handcross to Warninglid - Environmental Statement
On this page you can download a copy of the Environmental Statement Non-Technical Summary and find out how to obtain a copy of the Environmental Statement.


A23 Handcross to Warninglid

Department for Transport A23 Handcross to Warninglid Widening Statement of the Minister's decision following public consultation

The Minister of State for Transport has announced the Preferred Route for the A23 Handcross to Warninglid Widening in West Sussex.

  1. The announcement follows full consideration of all the factors involved including the views expressed by the public, local authorities and other interested organisations during consultation held from 16 May 2003 to 30 June 2003.

The Preferred Route

  1. The Preferred Route for the scheme is shown on the attached [sic] plan.
  2. The A23 Handcross to Warninglid scheme is to widen the existing dual 2-lane carriageway to dual 3 lanes with improvements to the unsatisfactory horizontal alignment and a new Slaugham Junction. The improvements link with the existing dual 3-lane road north of Handcross and south of Warninglid. The works are contained generally within the existing highway boundary and the existing road will remain open throughout construction of the scheme. Access to properties and businesses along this section of the A23 will be kept open during construction but new access roads will be provided.

The Present Situation

  1. The existing 2.4 miles (3.8 km) length of dual 2-lane road between Handcross and Warninglid links with the recently built dual 3-lane sections to the north and south. To the north the M23 commences 2.5 miles (4 km) north of Handcross and links with Gatwick Airport and the M25. To the south the A23 is a high quality route all the way to Brighton where it joins the A27 which itself links with the main towns along the south coast. These towns include Eastbourne, Lewes, Brighton, Hove, Shoreham and Worthing and are all linked via the A27, much of which is a high standard dual 2-lane carriageway. In contrast the links between the M25 and A27 areas are limited with the A23 being the only higher standard route. This means that some of the traffic funnels towards the A23 rather than using lower standard routes, for example the A22 and A24.
  2. The existing dual 2-lane road between Handcross and Warninglid has sub-standard horizontal alignment and junctions together with many accesses. As a result a large number of accidents occur and queues result, in particular on the uphill gradients at peak times, which means that traffic often diverts to less suitable parallel country lanes when problems occur on the A23.
  3. The A23 over this length carries 66,200 vehicles per day (vpd) of which 8.5% are heavy goods vehicles. This flow is expected to increase to 73,000 vpd by 2008 and this could be higher if developments occur at Gatwick and elsewhere along the route. The traffic flows are above the capacity of a 2-lane layout and as a result congestion often occurs at peak periods.
  4. The accident rate for the Handcross to Warninglid section was 62 personal injury accidents (pias) over the 3 year period from 1999 to 2001 which included 2 fatal accidents and 6 serious accidents. This converts to an average of 0.251 pias per million vehicle kilometres which is over 2.5 times higher than the expected national average of 0.096 for this type of road.
  5. The existing A23 over this length has very limited footpath or cycleway provision and the footpaths which cross the A23 are at-grade. There are sub-standard accesses to businesses and properties off the existing carriageway and these result in hazardous manoeuvres and accidents. In particular the sub-standard junction with the local east-west road connecting Slaugham and Staplefield which is at the bottom of the A23 gradient is particularly hazardous and is the cause of accidents, resulting in congestion.
  6. The A23 over this length goes through a very sensitive landscape and ecological area falling within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which lies between the North and South Downs. Typical features which form this area are deep wooded valleys and extensive woodlands, many of which being remnants of ancient woodland together with villages and settlements and narrow lanes enclosed with high hedges.
  7. Although there are no Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the immediate vicinity of the A23, the section passes through an area of significant ecological interest and nature conservation. Most of the mature broad leaf woodland on both sides of the road between Handcross and Slaugham Junction is designated an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland. This includes 3 designated areas adjacent to the A23 which are of high regional conservation value. In particular there is a sensitive ecological area where the River Ouse crosses the A23.
  8. The National Trust property, Nymans, is a popular attraction with extensive gardens north of the B2114, some 300 metres from the A23. The National Trust land covers extensive woodland including East Park which abuts the A23 over the northern section.
  9. A Vehicle Inspectorate weighbridge is situated on the A23 northbound carriageway at the top of the gradient with the junction at Handcross. This is necessary for inspection of heavy goods vehicles.

Public Consultation

  1. Public consultation for upgrading the A23 between Handcross and Warninglid was carried out between 16 May and 30 June 2003.
  2. A total of 206 visitors attended the exhibition, 196 Comments Forms were completed and 33 written responses were received. Of those who responded, 67% said they used the Handcross to Warninglid section on a daily basis with 23% using it weekly and 10% on a monthly basis. Of those who would be affected by the improvements, 175 respondents were drivers, 22 were cyclists, 35 pedestrians, 150 local residents and 10 local businesses.
  3. In response to the question "Does the existing route needed to be improved?" 95% said "Yes", 3% said "No" with 2% having no opinion. When asked "What are the main problems with the route?" 38 respondents (19%) said the tight bends, 9 respondents (5%) said steep gradients, 45 (23%) said short slip roads at junctions, 8 (4%) said too many accesses, 4 (2%) said journey takes too long, 5 (2%) said unpredictable journey times with 70 (36%) saying poor safety record and 18 (9%) other issues. When questioned about the most important environmental aspects, 32 (16%) said wildlife, 28 (14%) wanted to avoid the National Trust land and Sites of Nature Conservation Importance, 25 (13%) considered landscaping to be the most important, 85 (43%) said noise, 17 (9%) said that pollution was of most concern and 9 (5%) said other issues, for example, lighting.
  4. In response to the question, "Is it important to maintain access to the A23 at Slaugham Junction?" 33% requested the slip roads to be closed, 59% asked for a safer junction to be provided and 8% wanted a partial closure.
  5. In response to the question about providing access to the commercial and residential properties via a service road, 88% of the respondents supported this with 10% against.
  6. The responses from the local authorities and statutory environmental bodies generally supported the improvements although some had concerns about detailed aspects of the scheme. In addition, most supported retention of the Slaugham Road Junction but with an improved access. Many concerns were expressed about traffic diverting to less suitable routes during construction of the works and requested further discussion on ways to reduce this happening.

Ministers conclusions

  1. The Minister has taken these views into account. He is satisfied that there is an urgent need to widen this section of the A23 and to improve the horizontal alignment to address the poor accident record and congestion currently experienced throughout the day particular at peak times. The widened road will bring much needed relief to users of this section of the A23 whilst providing safer access for properties along the route.
  2. The Minister notes that while there is a consensus in favour of the improvement, there are some issues concerning aspects such as the access arrangements. He is satisfied that modifications made to the route since consultation have achieved the optimum balance between the various interests.
  3. He is mindful of the very sensitive landscape of the area, of the need to protect the environment and the importance of minimising the impact of the widening. He assures the various interested parties that every effort will be made to resolve the outstanding issues which some parties have expressed on the environmental aspects and detailed traffic management arrangements. In particular he will encourage partnerships with interested parties to take place to address the various concerns.

The Next Step

  1. The Preferred Route will now be protected from development in accordance with the provisions of Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 (SI 1988 No 1813). Anyone whose property is blighted as a result and can satisfy the relevant requirements of the Town and Country Planning Act may serve a Blight Notice on the Minister requiring him to purchase the property.
  2. Further design work on the Preferred Route will now be carried out including surveys before detailed proposals are published in Draft Orders under the Highways Act 1980. These draft orders will be open to objection and representation, and depending on the weight and nature of any objections. Public Inquiries may be held. The start of construction would depend on completion of the statutory procedures.
  3. The next step will be to appoint a contractor to assist in the development of the scheme. This will allow the chosen firm to input innovation and buildability into the design and for that to be incorporated in the Draft Orders and Environmental Statement.