The Department for Transport (DfT) has committed £60m in funding for the A361 North Devon Link Road widening project in the South West.
Works include widening of three sections of the Link Road, covering 7.5km, to create three traffic lanes, two in one direction and one in the other direction.
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. Modernisation and upgrade works will now start this month. The scheme extends 11km from Portmore Roundabout on the outskirts of Barnstaple to Filleigh Cutting to the north of South Molton.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said: “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’s vital at this time.”
“We’ve 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’ll now be looking to get work started as soon as we can.”
Works will focus on a 4.8 mile stretch between South Molton and Barnstaple. The route will be modernised with a wider carriageway, which will greatly improve overtaking opportunities, safety and resilience. The road’s capacity and 8 key junctions will be upgraded – and, to boost active travel, facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will be introduced along the route.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I’m 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’s 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 Southwest while providing 1000s with greater access to new homes and new jobs.”
The route provides the most direct link between North and South Devon and is a key route linking the Southwest to the rest of the UK. It also acts as a crucial link between the key economic centres of Bideford and Barnstaple. DfT’s investment of £60 million makes up the majority of the total costs of the scheme which is £67.6 million.
Improvements to the A361 are the latest boost to transport in Devon, following the opening of the first phase of a new £80 million sea wall at Dawlish by Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris in September. This investment will provide a resilient railway for generations to come, and forms part of the government’s commitment to deliver reliable, punctual journeys across Devon and Cornwall, helping the Southwest build back better and supporting the local economy and tourism.