Online consultation launched on North Devon Link Road improvements
Posted on: 27 June 2016
Devon County Council has launched an online consultation on options for improving the North Devon Link Road.
The local authority is currently investigating options for upgrading the route, having been allocated £1.5 million from the Department for Transport to develop a business case over the next couple of financial years. This is in addition to the £1 million budget which the County Council had allocated for developing designs.
An initial consultation in 2014 revealed considerable support for improvements to the Link Road, with over 90% in favour.
Around 17,000 new homes and 85 hectares of employment land is planned for the area over the next 15 years and enhancements to the Link Road would help meet the needs of this development.
The consultation puts forward two preferred options, both of which improve traffic flow to reduce journey times between the M5 and Northern Devon, as well as tackling congestion at peak-times between Barnstaple and Bideford, and improving safety by reducing the number of fatal and serious accidents on the Link Road.
The first option is to upgrade junctions which are currently pinch points. This is estimated at around £35 million.
The second option, estimated at £150 million would improve links and junctions. This would build on the junction improvements and would also develop stretches of road with three lanes to enable overtaking opportunities in alternate directions.
No improvements are planned to the section of the Link Road from the M5 to Tiverton which is currently dual carriageway. The focus of the improvements will be on the 20 mile section of the route between South Molton and Bideford.
Following evaluation, the County Council has ruled out three options for failing to meet key objectives. These are:
– Doing nothing. If the road was not improved it would not be fit for purpose as traffic levels increase, particularly with proposed development planned for the area;
– Dualling the road presents environmental concerns and would cost an estimated £500 million, which offers poor value for money and exceeds available funding opportunities;
– Public transport improvements would not meet all of the scheme objectives.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “This online consultation is an opportunity for everyone to find out more about what options have been considered and it’s also a chance for people to have their say on what option should be taken forward. We want to hear from people who live in the area and use the North Devon Link Road, and feedback from the questionnaire will inform how we make further progress on improvements.”
To take part in the consultation please visit new.devon.gov.uk/ndlr/consultation Responses need to be submitted by Friday 29 July 2016.
For those without a computer, publicly available computers with broadband are available in all Devon libraries.
In addition to the options consultation, a business survey is already underway to build a picture of travel patterns by local companies, and this will continue into the summer.
The County Council will submit a strategy for improvements to Government in the Autumn. Further evaluation of the preferred option will be carried out before another public consultation which will provide more details on phasing and impact of the improvements.
The consultation and other surveys will inform a business case and scheme bid for a share of the Government’s £475 million Local Majors Fund.
More information is available here.
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