Fears A303 roadworks are 'going to kill' popular restaurant in Somerset

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Work could begin within weeks on a major upgrade to the A303 in Somerset which it is hoped will ease traffic congestion.

The section of the road between Sparkford and Podimore is set to be turned into a dual carriageway. While that has been welcomed by many, one restaurant owner in the area has said it could "kill" her business.

Andrea Mattia's American diner sits next to a part of the route which will be moved further north - meaning many potential customers will not be driving right by.

Andria Mattia's diner sits right next to the A303 near the Sparkford roundabout Credit: ITV News West Country

"It’s so sad because we’ve waited and we’ve bought this property and we built it up to a good business and it’s literally going to kill it," she said.

"They say because they’ve not taken any of your land you’re not entitled to anything. This was something that we thought that we could have in our old age to keep us going."

While Mattia's Diner has concerns, family-run haulier C&D South West, based in Chard, is optimistic the work will boost business.

Sam Hammond is the fleet manager and said the section between Podimore and Sparkford causes regular headaches for them: "It’s always been a bottleneck. Whenever you’ve got two lanes of traffic going into one it always causes congestion.

"Our business is run on efficiency and meeting lead times so it’s so important for us that the roads are running, there’s not traffic and we can meet what the customers need."

C&D South West is based in Chard and the company hopes the A303 upgrade will improve efficiency for its fleet Credit: ITV News West Country

The Department for Transport told ITV News construction is set to begin before the end of this calendar year. Highways England's project timeline states some work could start in August 2021.

A spokesperson from DfT said the development consent was granted after a six month-long public consultation, saying: “This work will bring high-quality connections to the South West and will reduce congestion, improve journey times and make our network safer.”

The section between Sparkford and Podimore in Somerset has been described as a 'bottleneck' Credit: ITV News West Country

But one campaign group says building new roads is the wrong approach when the priority should be on dealing with climate change.

Chris Todd, director of Transport Action Network, said: "The problem is that government and local authorities keep saying ‘yes, but just one more road’ - it’s the addict’s response to trying to deal with all of these different problems.

"They span a huge range of public priorities that government has but is failing to tackle."

The government says its nationwide strategy for roads will be balanced to create net zero carbon emissions.