|TRANSPORT: Improvements along a 7.5km stretch of the notorious North Devon Link Road have been agreed by the Department for Transport, as Daniel Clark reports.|
The ‘biggest transport investment in North Devon for a generation’ will begin this month after the Department of Transport has signed off on the major improvements to the North Devon Link Road.
The upgrades to the A361 will help unlock the ‘true potential of the local economy in Northern Devon’, with work to begin imminently thanks to £60m of investment announced today by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The funding will kick-start major works on the A361, also known as the North Devon Link Road – slashing journey times, boosting connectivity and unlocking housing across the region.
The major project, being led by Devon County Council, will boost the local economy by supporting plans for 6,700 new homes in the region, making it easier for people to access job opportunities, and for businesses to get around.
Confirmation of the funding is a victory for the Western Morning News, following the ‘We Need It Now’ campaign launched for the upgrades to the road to be delivered as a matter of urgency in August 2017 after a series of tragic deaths on the road.
Mr Shapps said: “I am delighted to announce this funding to upgrade a vital gateway between Devon and the rest of the country. These works will boost connections, cut congestion for drivers and improve people’s quality of life.
“It is a clear indication of our commitment to levelling up and investing in transport infrastructure. Through these works, we’ll improve people’s ability to travel across the South West while providing thousands with greater access to new homes and new jobs.”
Cllr Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said: “This announcement is fantastic news for local residents and for Devon’s economy. The upgrade of this road is the biggest transport investment in North Devon for a generation. It will help unlock the true potential of the local economy in northern Devon, and with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, that is vital at this time.
“We have been working tirelessly on this project for a number of years so it’s great to see that effort rewarded with this Government funding. We will now be looking to get work started as soon as we can.”
The works will focus on a 7.5km stretch between South Molton and Barnstaple and the route will be modernised with a wider carriageway, which will greatly improve overtaking opportunities, safety and resilience.
The road’s capacity and eight key junctions will be upgraded – and to boost active travel, facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will be introduced along the route.