Outline Business Case submitted for Link Road improvements

Left to right: Councillor Jane Whittaker, Leader of Torridge District Council; Peter Heaton-Jones, MP Northern Devon; Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development & Waste; Rt Hon Sir Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport; Geoffrey Cox QC, MP for Torridge & West Devon; Councillor Pat Barker, Deputy Leader of North Devon Council

Posted on: 18 December 2017

An Outline Business Case for improvements to the North Devon Link Road has been submitted to government today (Monday 18 December).

Devon County Council has handed its £93 million bid for Department for Transport (DfT) funding, as it aims to receive a share of money available nationally through the Local Majors Fund.

Cllr Andrea DavisCouncillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, led a delegation along with Councillor Pat Barker, Deputy Leader of North Devon District Council, Councillor Jane Whittaker, Leader of Torridge District Council, and North Devon MP Peter Heaton Jones. They presented the documents to the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport in London earlier.

This is the first phase of a project to improve the North Devon Link Road which aims to enhance economic growth in northern Devon while supporting new housing and employment development.

The scheme included in the Outline Business Case would widen the A361 from South Molton to Barnstaple, providing overtaking lanes on around 70% of this stretch of the route, which would be an improvement on the current level of 10%.

Junction improvements and safety upgrades would also be carried out between South Molton and Bideford. The road would continue to have a 60mph speed limit with the use of average speed cameras recommended to improve safety.

Councillor Andrea Davis said:

“Submitting the Outline Business Case is a key milestone for the North Devon Link Road project. A lot of hard work has gone into getting the scheme to this stage and if our bid for Local Majors Funding is successful it will be a tremendous boost for the economy in northern Devon and also for improving safety on this vital route.”

Deputy Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Pat Barker, said:

“I’m really pleased with the news, it’s the culmination of so much hard work by us and Devon County Council over the last two years. We have to thank our MP Peter Heaton-Jones, who has worked tirelessly on the project and also our own officers in the economic development team for their contributions. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long for a result for North Devon and it’s future economic growth but most importantly for the safer journeys the improvements will make.”

Jane Whittaker, Leader of Torridge District Council, said:

“The North Devon Link Road is important in so many ways to our residents and our businesses. The key considerations are of course to improve the success of our local economy and that of public safety. The business case submission is only the beginning of the journey, but the great news is that the journey has begun and I am delighted to have been there to support the submission of the funding bid.”

The County Council’s Cabinet agreed in October to develop improvements to the route in phases. Councillors supported a long term strategy which would provide 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.

The strategy also involves upgrading eight junctions along the A361 and A39, and to improve 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.

If the DfT approves the Outline Business Case, Devon would aim to submit a planning application in late 2018 and a full Business Case in 2020. If successful, this would potentially enable construction to start in late 2020.

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