Revealed: £200m package of improvements for North Devon Link Road

PUBLISHED: 13:55 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:54 06 October 2016

The A361 North Devon Link Road in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells

The A361 North Devon Link Road in Barnstaple. Picture: Sarah Howells


Urban four-lane section between Landkey and Brynsworthy part of raft of upgrades recommended by highways experts

A £200million package of improvements has been drawn up for the North Devon Link Road.

Details about the proposed scheme for the A361 and A39 between Bideford and South Molton can be revealed for the first time.

Highways experts are recommending a new urban four-lane section between Landkey and Brynsworthy, work that would include the widening of the river and rail bridge over the River Taw.

There would be no central reservation but the speed limit would be reduced to 50mph.

North Devon Link Road North Devon Link Road

The Gateway to Northern Devon strategy also proposes additional overtaking lanes from Filleigh to Portmore, and from a brand new junction at Brynsworthy to Westleigh.

Improvements would be made to seven junctions – at Borners Bridge, West Buckland; Landkey; Portmore; Rumsam; Westleigh; and Heywood Road.

Dual carriageway ruled out

A complete dual carriageway has been ruled out due to costs and timescales.

The Gazette launched the 'A Better Link' campaign earlier this year to call for improvements to North Devon Link Road. The Gazette launched the 'A Better Link' campaign earlier this year to call for improvements to North Devon Link Road.

The report by Dave Black, Devon County Council’s head of planning, transportation and environment said: “A dual carriageway would provide the biggest benefits but this is very high cost, probably unaffordable.

“It would have a large impact on the environment as a new alignment and large scale junction improvements would be necessary.

“This would require large areas of land, compulsory purchase orders, public inquires and make the whole process undeliverable within the DfT (Department for Transport) timescales of having the scheme onsite by 2020.”

Overtaking opportunities and junction safety between South Molton and the M5 will be looked at as part of a separate review once funding is identified.

A ‘poor’ gateway to North Devon

Mr Black’s report said the link road offered a ‘poor’ gateway to North Devon.

It said a mix of business, commuter and tourist traffic led to poor journey times, reliability and congestion in peak commuting periods, particularly around Barnstaple and Bideford.

The average speed between Tiverton and Bideford is 47mph and although the number of collisions are relatively low, the number of fatal and serious incidents is higher than other comparable roads.

The report said that Northern Devon’s economy was among the most poorly performing in the UK and had ‘significant untapped potential’.

It also said ‘considerable’ housing development planned along the route over the next 15-20 years would add to capacity problems at key ‘pressure points’.

Around 4,000 homes are being planned in Barnstaple, with a similar amount in Bideford. Another 2,000 homes are being planned in Tiverton; 1,200 in South Molton; 1,400 in Ilfracombe; 400 in Braunton; and 600 in Torrington.


The council will now look to submit the Strategic Outline Business Case to the DfT and apply for further funding to complete the second stage of development work.

If successful, it would look to submit a capital bid to the Government’s Large Local Majors Fund before autumn next year.

If funding is approved, actual work would have to start by March 2020.

Development of the scheme follows a public consultation carried out in the summer which showed 95 per cent of people thought improvements were needed for the road.

Councillors are being recommending to note the results of the consultation, submit the Strategic Outline Business Case approve further development funding at a meeting on Wednesday.

What do you think about the latest proposals for the link road? Email your thoughts to the newsdesk – just click here.

More from North Devon Gazette


There are proposals for a cycle bridge across the North Devon Link Road from Seven Brethren in Barnstaple

Read more
60 minutes ago

Will festive video go viral? St Michael’s Nursery in Barnstaple is racking up the social media views for its Christmas video debut

Read more
Christmas 2017

New leisure centre at Seven Brethren approved by council planning committee this morning (Wednesday)

Read more

A teaching assistant is fundraising to bring her husband’s family to Devon for Christmas after their home was ravaged by a tropical hurricane. Can you help?

Read more
Yesterday, 19:06

The Gazette has been along to review Beauty and the Beats at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple – have you got your tickets yet?

Read more
Christmas 2017
Yesterday, 17:30

The Appledore RNLI lifeboat was requested to transport a woman who needed hospital treatment after being injured on Lundy

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

Dogs Trust Ilfracombe has revealed the bizarre excuses why people gave up their dog last Christmas, including ‘he was a secret Santa’ and ‘he pants too much’.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:55

A nine-year-old girl left severely disabled with cerebral palsy after mistakes at North Devon District Hospital has been awarded £20million in damages at the High Court.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:17

Torridge District Council and North Devon Council are reminding people what can and cannot be recycled over Christmas and New Year.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:36

The community has pulled together to help landlords of The Bell Inn in Parkham re-open in a temporary premises, celebrating with a Christmas lunch for all.

Read more