Council to begin second phase of essential tree safety work on North Devon Link Road
Posted on: 28 August 2020
Devon County Council begins a second phase of a comprehensive programme of tree safety work next week to remove potentially hazardous ash trees infected with ash dieback on a 46km stretch of the North Devon Link Road (A361/A39).
They report a significant increase county-wide in the number of infected and deteriorating trees over the spring and summer months, which could cause potential hazard to public safety.
A lot of tree work was done in a first phase on the busiest sections of the link road during lockdown, while traffic on the road was low. But there’s more to do, so teams will be working between 1 September and mid-November, to complete the road as quickly as possible.
The timing is to prioritise public safety, while also taking into consideration the natural wildlife and habitat.
Rather than closing the entire road, individual lane closures and temporary traffic lights will be used where possible to minimise inconvenience. Where that’s not possible, some stretches of the road will close on some evenings, with diversions in place. Signs will be placed seven days in advance of each planned road closure.
Reduced speed limits of 40mph will also be in place.
The Council warns that some disruption should be expected, with delays possible during peak day times.
Special consideration has been given to limiting any wildlife impacts associated with this essential tree safety work, especially for protected species, and contractors are being fully briefed by the council ecologist. The Council is also committed to replacing trees which have to be removed due to ash dieback. This is being done in collaboration with the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said:
“It’s essential that the remainder of this work is completed as quickly as possible. Although we recognise that the North Devon Link Road is a very busy stretch of road, and delays can be frustrating, our priority has to be public safety and ensuring that the ash trees don’t become a hazard to motorists.
“Our teams have worked hard to carry out much of the work during lockdown to keep disruption to a minimum on this busy route and will continue to do so during this next phase of work.”