Dorchester could get a second bypass to the north of the town as part a £100 million cash injection from central government.

It comes as Dorset County Council revealed its response to the Major Roads Network (MRN) consultation, which proposes that 5,000 miles of A roads are brought into scope for new funding from the National Roads Fund for upgrades and improvements.

Upgrade schemes which could be considered are bypasses, missing links between existing routes, road widening, major junction improvements and the use of technological and safety enhancements along stretches of the network.

In the response, Dorset County Council proposed that a new A35 – A37 North Dorchester link road should be built which would unlock development, reduce traffic congestion on the A35 as well as free up capacity and accelerate the growth of Portland Port.

The link would be built shortly near the A35 Stinsford Roundabout before coming out at the A37 Weirs roundabout near Charminster.

Cllr David Taylor, Mayor of Dorchester, said: "The idea for a new link between the A37 and A35, a “northern bypass”, is not new, although we welcome the profile that Dorset County Council and the Dorset LEP are giving to it in their submission to the minister.

"Anything that can be done to reduce the volume of traffic going through the town centre, particularly along our historic High West Street, must be positive, although we would also be keen to see that any new route is implemented sensitively within the landscape."

Cllr Andy Canning, who represents Dorchester North on West Dorset District Council also welcomed the proposals but stressed that the bypass should have been built at the same time as when the Southern bypass was built.

He added that the road scheme was essential in bringing forward the second 'Poundbury' style development which as the Dorset Echo reported last Monday could see more than 3,500 built beyond the water meadows to the north of the town.

Among the other roads which have been identified by the Department for Transport for potential projects are the A354 between Weymouth town centre and Dorchester, the A37 between Yeovil and Dorchester and the A35 between Bere Regis and the Bakers Arms roundabout at Lytchett Minister near Poole.

Alongside this, the whole of the A350 corridor from Poole through Dorset to the county boundary and beyond through Wiltshire was also identified by Dorset County Council in their consultation response.

Dorset County Council said that this was north/south route linking the Port of Poole and the wider Dorset conurbation with the M4 corridor.

Under the proposals, road upgrades will be developed by councils for these particular routes and, where possible, sub-national transport bodies – a regional body that influences funding decisions such as Transport for the North.

The strategy is being developed to address traffic congestion issues and support the future housing and regeneration plans for towns and cities across the country including in Dorset.

It is planned that a review of the MRN will mirror the planned investment in the strategic road network which includes motorways and large A roads managed by Highways England.

The consultation comes following the publication of the South of England North-South Connectivity Prospectus, created by Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Poole councils, together with local enterprise partnerships which lays out the economic needs for improved links by road.

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said: “For decades, these major local roads have been underfunded and not properly maintained.

“We are spending record amounts on improving our roads and we want more of our busiest roads to benefit from guaranteed investment.

“This will unlock no end of benefits for communities by improving motorists’ journeys, taking traffic away from built-up areas, as well as enabling new housing to be built and creating jobs.”

Councillor Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for natural and built environment, said: “The south coast’s economy has been artificially suppressed due to wholly inadequate transport links to our ports and markets, particularly from the north.

“Improved links offer a huge potential for growth throughout the region.”

Ian Girling, chief executive of the Dorset Chamber of Commerce, said: “Traffic congestion and the transport infrastructure is an issue that is a constant concern for businesses across Dorset – and the whole south-west.

“Ongoing investment and planning in transport and the road network is an essential platform for economic growth in Dorset.

“We would very much support this consultation and would encourage businesses to have their say.”

Simon Hoare, MP for North Dorset, said: "Now is the time to be investing in our sub-regional infrastructure.

"This is what we have been working towards and it has certainly been on the local political radar."

Lorna Carver, director of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We endorse the response from the Dorset Local Highway Authorities (LHAs) and in particular the proposed additional MRN links that have been identified, the comments on the criteria for the definition of the MRN and the financial thresholds for enhancement schemes.

"We are ready to do our part, with the local transport authorities, in creating the regional evidence base which will help the development of a prioritised programme and will support the business case for project proposals, all of which should have a major impact on our productivity."

The A roads that will make up the MRN will be revealed by the Department for Transport in due course.