Council backs scheme for North Devon Link Road funding bid

North Devon Link Road

Posted on: 11 October 2017

Proposals to submit a funding bid to government for the first phase of improvements to the North Devon Link Road have been given the go ahead by Devon County Council.

The decision by the County Council’s Cabinet means an Outline Business Case for £88 million of improvements will be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) by the end of the year for Local Majors Funding. Councillors also supported a long term strategy to upgrade the road.

Devon County Council will be bidding for a share of a £300 million funding pot available nationally – which is why it was seen as practical to submit a bid for the scheme to improve a section of the strategy for the Link Road. This increases the chances of a successful submission, and Devon will continue to develop improvements in phases.

The scheme, which will form Devon’s Local Majors Fund bid, would widen the Link Road from South Molton to Barnstaple to provide more overtaking opportunities, and junction improvements and safety upgrades will be carried out from South Molton to Bideford.

Around 70% of the stretch from South Molton to Barnstaple would feature overtaking lanes, increasing on the current level of 10%. The road would continue to have a 60mph speed limit with the use of average speed cameras recommended to improve safety.

Councillor Andrea Davis

Councillor Andrea Davis

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said: “This is the starting point of a long term strategy for the North Devon Link Road. We have to upgrade this main arterial route for North Devon and Torridge because we are all dependant on it. This scheme will benefit people travelling in and out of northern Devon, particularly businesses who say it’s vital in order to bring new investment to the area, and parish councils are pleased the speed limit is going into the strategy. We are focussing on South Molton to Bideford to start upgrading the Link Road for future generations.”

The long term strategy includes upgrades to eight junctions along the A361 and A39, additional overtaking lanes on sections of the Link Road and an urban four lane road, with two lanes in each direction, between Portmore roundabout and Roundswell roundabout.

To improve road safety, all uncontrolled right turns would be removed and pedestrian facilities improved for over 35km between Bish Mill junction, east of South Molton, and Buckleigh Road Junction near Bideford.

The results of a recent public consultation on the proposed improvements showed that 83% agreed that the North Devon Link Road needed upgrading.

If the Outline Business Case is approved by the DfT, a planning application will be submitted in late 2018. A Full Business Case would then be submitted in 2020, which would potentially allow construction to start in late 2020.

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