PLANS to turn a major road between Reading and Basingstoke into a dual-carriageway have been revealed.

It comes as part of a study to improve connections between the M4 and M3.

The A33 is currently a dual-carriageway through Chineham and between Reading and Riseley, but for the rest of the distance it is single-carriageway and a notorious bottleneck.

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In 2002, it was named one of the most dangerous roads in Britain.

Now, it has been revealed that authorities in Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire, and Hampshire are assessing the potential to turn the road into a dual carriageway to increase the connectivity between the M3 and M4.

Network Rail and Great Western Railway are also part of the consultation to improve rail connections along the corridor, which could see a long-awaited station built in Chineham.

According to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's cabinet member for planning, infrastructure and the natural environment, Cllr Mark Ruffell, the plans are to turn the road into a national strategic route.

It comes after the borough's deputy mayor, Cllr Onnalee Cubitt, said that the plans would "damage" Basingstoke's business parks. She cited experts who told a committee meeting previously that the plans would "render Basingstoke a dormitory town for Reading's businesses".

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But Cllr Ruffell replied: "The assumption is that our economy would be damaged by having better transport links to Reading. I disagree.

"It was set up to explore the links between the M4 and M3. That is something that is hard to criticise.

"When you are looking at other authorities, you've got gridlock in most directions from Wokingham. It is not a surprise they are coming up with these ideas," he said, adding that currently the route to the M3 from Wokingham took motorists through heavily-congested Bracknell.

"It would have been wrong for us to have ignored it and not had a seat at the table."

Councillors had attended a briefing from Hampshire County Council on the proposals, in which Cllr Ruffell said a lot of views had been expressed, adding: "Any proposal to straighten the route or make it more direct, we made it abundantly clear it would be highly controversial and met with substantial protest."

According to the portfolio holder, there are benefits to the slower speed on that road, which averages at 40mph, namely that there are a number of schools and housing estates alongside the route.

The proposals have been considered before.

The Gazette's sister publication The Daily Echo reported in 2004 that HCC were looking at plans to dual the road when it announced its new local travel plan.