Public to be asked views on major upgrades to the Bideford to Tiverton route.

DETAILED plans have been drawn up outlining major proposals to dual parts of the A361 North Devon Link Road.

As reported by the Gazette in March, long running concerns over delays and congestion – and the predicted growth of North Devon over the next 10 to 15 years – have prompted a full-scale review of the A361 and A39 from Tiverton to Bideford.

Now, Devon County Council looks set to ask members of the public their views on a series of improvements for the 43-mile stretch of road, which opened in 1988.

A leaflet, ‘Gateway to Northern Devon – A strategy for the North Devon Link Road’, will go out to public consultation subject to approval by the council’s cabinet on Wednesday.

The strategy includes proposals to dual sections of the route between Tiverton and Barnstaple, and between Bishops Tawton and Roundswell, which is the busiest section of the corridor and is predicted to exceed capacity by 2031.

Roundabouts at Heywood Road in Bideford; Bishop’s Tawton; and Bolham near, Tiverton could be improved, and a fourth exit added at Portmore roundabout to serve future development.

The T-junction at Abbotsham could be improved to a ‘grade separated’ junction, similar to those typically found on dual carriageways.

This type of junction may also be introduced at Tiverton for the Eastern Urban Extension and Borner’s Bridge, South Molton, together with other junction improvements along the route.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, the county council’s cabinet member for economy and growth, urged people to get in touch and have their say.

“Although the first phase of improvements at Roundswell roundabout has been completed, other elements are proposals at this stage,” he said.

“We would like to hear the views of as many people as possible on these suggestions. The North Devon Link Road and A39 are well used routes for commuters, businesses and tourists, and journey time reliability is a problem, particularly at a number of pinch points along the route.

“We want to address these problem areas in order to support economic growth and the delivery of the Local Plan proposals for housing and employment along this corridor.”

The leaflet would be available online and in libraries, and feedback used to shape further feasibility work to develop schemes along the routes.

Funding would potentially come from developer contributions and the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund, with Devon County Council funding preparation of business cases, designs and purchase of land.