Safety barrier replacement, A396 north of Cove Village,

Posted on: 19 January 2016

Work to replace a safety barrier and road surfacing on the A396, north of Cove, Tiverton, will begin on Monday January 25 and last 16 weeks.

Throughout this period a mixture of traffic management will be used including traffic signals with a convoy vehicle and road closures.

During periods the road will be closed to traffic entirely. During the times that the road is closed, traffic will be directed to a designated diversion route which will be towards Tiverton, via the A361, B3227 and vice versa.

Signs will give local residents and businesses advance warning of any road closures and the diversion route, but some disruption will be unavoidable for traffic travelling between Mid Devon and West Somerset.

Devon County Council has commissioned South West Highways Ltd to carry out this essential maintenance work.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Highways Management said: Thank you to those who attended the recent information days in Dulverton and Bampton before Christmas. During the work temporary traffic lights will be put in place and there will be periods when the road is closed, to ensure the workforce can safely access the areas needed.
“We have written to many residents and businesses and when the road is going to be closed we will place signs on the road in advance to inform local residents and businesses.”
Cllr Polly Colthorpe, local County Councillor for Tiverton West said: “As a result of the feedback more passing places are being added on Old Tiverton Road between Tiverton and Bampton. During some of the works that would originally

Councillor Polly Colthorpe

Councillor Polly Colthorpe

have required road closures,  the traffic will now be managed through a mixture of traffic lights and a convoy system.
“Although there will still be periods when it will be necessary to close the A396 entirely, overall the disruption should be significantly reduced thanks to those of you who contributed to the information days. I am grateful to Jacobs, the contractors, for listening and taking on board suggestions to assist through this difficult period.”

A dedicated website has been set up to provide information for the public about the works.

18 comments on “Safety barrier replacement, A396 north of Cove Village,

  1. anonymous says:

    why have the builders put a kerb there it makes the road narrower and is more hazardous now. also it doesn’t blend in with the natural surroundings and together with the wall makes the area look urbanized / developed which is in contravention to planning rules.

    • The kerb and narrow strip adjacent to the wall is there for a number of reasons. Structures, such as the wall, immediately adjacent to the edge of the paved carriageway results in drivers positioning their vehicles away from the hazard, often overcompensating leading to the risk of collisions. The purpose of the kerb and narrow strip is to provide a lateral distance between the wall and the road which reduces a driver’s natural inclination to move away from the wall into the centre of the road. Drivers often prefer a kerb as it gives some protection from the wall. The final reason is drainage; the kerb protects the wall and reduces the effects that water running along the bottom of the wall will have over time.

    • anonymous says:

      I’ve never heard such rubbish. if what your saying is true, then drivers will want to move away from the kerb, seeing it as a “hazard” and moving towards the centre of the road as you put it. so effectively you’ve also reduced the width of the carriageway. had you not built a wall there in the first place this problem wouldn’t occur. the whole construction is a very poor design and should not have been built as it has.

  2. jane Millard says:

    I will be towing my caravan to Dulverton on the17th April, will the cove road be open by that date as I am an anxious driver on the tiny roads of Exmoor. The diversion seems a long way and i would rather stay on the road that I am familiar with.

  3. Gavin Brooks says:

    Hello, what is the procedure to claim compensation for damages to my car due to poor diversion arrangements, scratches caused by side bushes when passing other traffic, also extra tear & wear due to 3 times the distant plus lost revenue for extra fuel. Like many local people I feel quite let down.

  4. Clive Knight says:

    I have heard today (Monday, March 7th) that the full closure is now due to go on until March 24th. Can you please confirm?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Clive. Yes, unfortunately it is. Contractors have told us that the current full time road closure will remain in place until the 24th March 2016. The reason is a section of the river bank being unable to support the proposed barrier.

      Additional piles and a raft foundation have to be constructed and to do this the contractor must drill through rock. To do this a significant width of the highway has to be excavated to provide the raft foundation and there isn’t enough room to allow traffic to pass safely.

      To try and finish the work the contractor has doubled the number of stone masons and is intending to bring in a second piling rig.
      Work crews will be working seven days a week and extended hours during the day in an attempt to get the work finished.

      We hope the road will reopen under traffic lights by 24th March, in time for Easter and completion of the whole scheme remains the 13th May 2016.

      We are really sorry for the disruption and are doing everything we can to speed up the work.
      For more info go to

  5. david strong says:

    When the works are complete will the no entry signs between cove bridge and halfpenny bridge be removed, as they are totally unnecessary as there are plenty of passing places along that road.

    • Hi David. Yes they will. The designated A396 diversion route is via the A361, B3227 and vice versa and we recommend all traffic use this route.

      However we acknowledge that some motorists may not use the official diversion and at the public exhibitions before the closure, the local community requested measures to minimise the impact on local traffic.

      So we introduced two one-way schemes – one going east, on Cove Hill between Ewings Farm and Van Post, and a second one-way going west, between Highwood Cottage and the junction to Cove Bridge.

      Once the A396 Cove works are completed the Temporary Traffic Order and one-way signing will be removed.

      I hope this answers your question.

      Additional information can be found on the Cove web-page

  6. Kate Clayton-White says:

    I drive to Bampton every day. Having experienced horrendous conditions along the local diversion route I now use the long diversion route which is costing me time and money. The local diversion is totally unsuited for the volume of traffic now using it. Why is work not being done at weekends to minimise disruption to locals? I cannot understand why this closure was planned for February/March when the weather conditions-heavy rain and ice make conditions worse. It is very difficult to get answers from Devon Highways. I phoned today to find out if the work is going to finish on time, I was told I may have to wait 15 days for a reply. The website detailing progress has not been updated since Feb 5th.

    • Thank you for your comments and I’m sorry you feel that you feel you have had difficulty in getting an update.

      Work is progressing well all along the 700m site. A significant length of the crash barrier has already been installed and the first phase is complete.

      The stone walling started two weeks ago and is progressing well and a second gang of stonemasons will be starting onsite next week now that a significant length of foundation has been completed.

      Contractors will be working through the weekend to speed things up. The project does have a number of difficult stages coming up because of the depth of rock and unpredictable weather so it is still too early to predict if the work will be completed on time, but we should have better idea next week.

      The reason the work was planned for Feb-March was to avoid the busier holiday period and avoid disruption around Xmas.

      We did consider allowing the workforce to work every weekend but it was felt that if the workforce were made to work every day, 7 days a week we may actually loss efficiency.

  7. Elaine Goodfellow says:

    Yes, on 8 February at approximately 21.45 I hit a deep pothole on my way back from Tiverton on the old Tiverton road, resulting in a damaged tyre which needed replacing. I would normally have been travelling on the A396. I was not travelling at any speed as I was in a queue of traffic. The mechanic who replaced the tyre immediately recognised it as pothole damage. The resulting bill was in excess of £200. I would have thought that it was Devon County Council’s duty to ensure that their ‘alternative routes’ are maintained in a roadworthy condition. I will be sending my bill to Devon County Council.

  8. Mick says:

    Traffic, including vans and trucks, is still using the Halfpenny Bridge section of the diversion going the wrong way, creating some heated discussions. One car driver in particular insists that Devon Highways and the police are wrong and he is right in saying that it is an “advisory only” one way street. I fear it may end in tears. Maybe a policeman booking offenders for an hour a week on that stretch would get the message across.

  9. DR KEN J MILLS says:

    Some really deep potholes are developing along the Old Tiverton Road and also in the road up from Cove to the Old Tiverton Road. They could prove very damaging, especially at night.

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