Wednesday, January 9, 2013
County council approves £1.2million enhancement of busy Barnstaple junction.
A MAJOR £1.2million improvement scheme at one of Barnstaple’s most congested roundabouts has been approved by Devon County Council today (Wednesday).
As reported by the Gazette last month, enhancement of the A39 Roundswell Roundabout tops a long list of highway priorities earmarked for Barnstaple between now and 2031.
The roundabout will become the first of the town’s main junctions to be remodelled to cope with current and projected traffic flows.
Devon county councillor Rodney Cann said: “The changes are desperately needed as this roundabout is often completely congested, particularly on the school run, when it can cause nightmare journeys for commuters.
“People are using the back roads to avoid the congestion and it’s just adding to the problem. Anything that can be done there would be a big help.
“I’ve been pressing for improvements there for some time and I also feel there is a need to address problems at the Lake Roundabout as well.”
The proposal, which was approved subject to available funding, seeks to add extra lanes on the A39 approaches and exits to allow ‘straight ahead’ traffic a quicker passage across the roundabout.
It takes into account current planning applications already lodged for 850 homes and a primary school at Larkbear; 350 homes and a primary school at Tews Lane; and for the relocation of St Johns Garden Centre.
A report by the council’s head of planning, transportation and environment said: “The improvements scheme would increase capacity through the junction with the A39.
“Improving the A39 corridor would encourage traffic to use the A39 and A361 rather than the route via the Cedars roundabout and Sticklepath Hill.”
The council would need to obtain some land to complete the scheme and the proposals that went before the committee also seek permission to progress to compulsory purchase if necessary.
Funding is likely to come from Section 106 developer contributions, as well as the Department for Transport’s recently announced ‘Local Pinch Point Fund’.
Cllr Cann added: “This is just the first stage and it’s a major step forward. It’s a significant scheme which recognises the problems we face.
“The next step will be to secure funding and this is something I will be raising at the council meeting.”