'Vital' road scheme given go-ahead - and £38m funding

The A382 improvement plans

The A382 improvement plans - Credit: Devon County Council

A vital new £45m road scheme to improve journey times, provide new cycling and walking routes and support the construction of thousands of homes in South Devon has been confirmed.

The Government has announced it will be backing Devon County Council’s scheme to upgrade the main road between Newton Abbot and the Drumbridges roundabout along the A382 with a cash injection of £38m.

The project includes the widening of the A382 between Trago roundabout and Forches Cross, which will increase traffic capacity and ease congestion, in turn supporting the construction of 2,500 new homes in the region and pave the way for the local economy to continue growing in the future.

The section of the A382 between the Drumbridges and Trago roundabouts will be dualled, while a shared pedestrian and cycle path, along with a bridge to allow them to safely cross, will ensure that pedestrians and cyclists will enjoy better journeys.

The green light has also been given to construct the planned Jetty Marsh II connection as part of the scheme, which will provide a new road between Whitehill Cross and West Golds way, with a shared-use path adjacent to the route – reducing traffic on Exeter Road and providing better links to the A38.

And the Government cash means work on the adjoining A382-A383 link between Forches Cross and Howton Road will begin later this year.

Cllr John Hart, leader of Devon County Council, said: “I would like to thank the Department for Transport for providing this funding.

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“This is the final stage of a major investment programme for the A382 corridor which is the culmination of several years of investment by Devon County Council.

“It is very important for the Newton Abbot’s economy and will unlock the development of new homes and jobs, resulting in reduced journey times, improved safety and ease congestion. It will also provide safe, high-quality cycling and pedestrian routes, giving those wishing to make short journeys realistic alternative transport options.”

He added: “This is an early indication of how we intend to help Devon’s economy recover from the ravages of the pandemic.”

The scheme, which aims to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians as well as unlocking economic growth, is being funded by the Department for Transport, Devon County Council, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP) and Teignbridge District Council.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere added: “This multi-million-pound investment will totally change the transport landscape in this part of Devon.

“This Government is dedicated to levelling up regions across the country and we will continue to support regional economies by investing in local transport projects like this one.”

WHAT DOES THE SCHEME INCLUDE?

Phase 1 – Forches Cross to Whitehill Cross

Phase 1 of the A382 Corridor Scheme proposes the following realignment and widening of the A382 to 10 metres between Forches Cross and Whitehill Cross, a new roundabout at Ringslade Road and a shared pedestrian and cycle path along the A382. Work on the scheme is well under way and should be completed this summer.

Phase 2 – Houghton Barton Link

The plans are to build 2.5km of new road that will cut across from the A382 to the A383, through the Houghton Barton development area.

The proposed A382-A383 connection is considered ‘critical’ in addressing the increase in traffic as a result of the proposed developments around Newton Abbot, particularly around Ashburton Road, Dyrons roundabout, Whitehills roundabout and Exeter Road, and will ensure that the Houghton Barton development can be delivered.

The route of the new road from the north west of Forches Cross would roughly follow Staplehill Road until the junction with Perry Lane, where it would follow this road until it is close to Howton Road.

From this point it would cross agricultural land with one spur going to Buttercup Way and a second spur joining with Howton Lane, to exit onto the A383 Ashburton Road.

A segregated cycle/footway would be provided along the length of the new road and a foot/cycle bridge would be constructed over the road at Forches Cross.

Land is allocated in the Teignbridge Local Plan (Policy NA1) for at least 1,800 homes, 18 hectares of employment, a road linking the A382 to the A383, a primary school, and other community facilities and open spaces.

Construction of the first section of this scheme, from the A382 to Howton Road, begins this month, says Devon County Council on its website, while the second section of the scheme, from Howton Road to the A383, is expected to be constructed by developers at Houghton Barton.

Phase 3 – Drumbridges to Forches Cross, Jetty Marsh II and Exeter Rd

Phase 3 includes the remaining sections. The scheme will involve straightening the alignment of the road, widening the section from Trago Mills to White Hills Cross and developing a section of dual carriageway between Drumbridges and the Trago Mills roundabout.

The schemes for Exeter Road will see the road widened to six metres and the footway to 3.5m to allow room for the shared footway and cycleway, and will also bring the road up to the standard needed for new homes and economic growth outlined in the adopted Local Plan.

The shared path will improve pedestrian and cycle facilities to encourage sustainable travel, providing adequate space for pedestrians and cyclists to use the path safely and the pedestrian refuge island at Whitehill Close will enable residents from Whitehill Close, Orleigh Avenue and Orleigh Park to safely access bus services on the A382.

The link between the A382 and West Golds Way aims to mitigate the impact of development traffic on Churchill’s roundabout, reduce congestion and increase capacity for traffic accessing Newton Abbot town centre.

The approximately 380 metres of highway between the A382 and West Golds Way, which also includes pedestrian and cycle facilities, would connect the existing cul-de-sac by Newton Abbot Hospital to a newly proposed roundabout where the Exeter Road connects to Bovey Tracey Road.

Construction is set to start on this phase in 2024.

The total cost of the scheme comes to £44.85 million, with Devon County Council providing the remaining £6.7 million alongside the Department for Transport’s multi-million-pound contribution.