A planning application has been lodged for an underpass and improvements at Bishop’s Tawton roundabout.

Bishops Tawton roundabout on the A361. Picture: Tony GussinBishops Tawton roundabout on the A361. Picture: Tony Gussin

It is one of seven junctions planned to be improved as part of the multi-million scheme to upgrade the A361 North Devon Link Road between South Molton and Bideford.

The scheme would see extra lanes on the A361 through the roundabout to increase capacity, while the A377 exit to Bishops Tawton would also be widened to incorporate two wider lanes.

A new underpass is proposed to the west of the roundabout to enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross the busy road.

The Gazette reported in February how some residents were opposed to an underpass because they believe it will not be used and would attract anti-social behaviour.

But Devon County Council says it has been designed to be open and clearly visible to all users, and it will link into existing paths to make the route feel safe and secure.

Planting, landscaping and an acoustic fence are proposed to screen the roundabout from nearby properties.

DCC also intends to submit an application for a pedestrian and cycle bridge to cross the A361 at Landkey.

The schemes form part of Devon County Council's planned £93million upgrade of the A361 between Bideford and South Molton.

Councillor Andrea Davis, DCC cabinet Member with responsibility for infrastructure and development, said: "Submitting the planning application for these improvements at Bishop's Tawton roundabout is another positive step forward in our proposed upgrade of the North Devon Link Road, which is the biggest investment in the Northern Devon transport infrastructure for a generation.

"It is vital that we think of all modes of transport including pedestrians and cyclists. Devon County Council is committed to encouraging cycling and walking - safety of pedestrians and cyclists is often a reason people choose to use their cars for short journeys.

"There has been a lot of consultation about the underpass, we have taken on board comments from the public and now the scheme is ready to be submitted for planning."

In addition to the junction upgrades, three sections of the North Devon Link Road will be widened, to create three traffic lanes, two in one direction and one in the other direction. This will cover from Portmore roundabout to Landkey, Harford to Swimbridge and Swimbridge to Filleigh.

DCC is due to submit its full business case for the scheme to the DfT in summer 2020.