Representatives from parliament and local councils handed the £93million A361 bid to the Secretary of State for Transport today (Monday)

A £93million bid for improvements to the North Devon Link Road has been handed in to the Department for Transport today (Monday).

Devon County Council’s Outline Business Case for modifications to the A361 was handed in Secretary of State for Transport Sir Chris Grayling by representatives from Devon, North Devon and Torridge.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for infrastructure, led a delegation along with North Devon Council deputy leader Pat Barker, Torridge District Council leader Jane Whittaker, and MPs Geoffrey Cox and Peter Heaton-Jones.

If the DfT approves the Outline Business Case, Devon County Council would aim to submit a planning application in late 2018 and a full Business Case in 2020. If successful, construction could start in late 2020.

Councillor Davis said: “Submitting the Outline Business Case is a key milestone for the North Devon Link Road project.

“A lot of hard work has gone into getting the scheme to this stage and if our bid for Local Majors Funding is successful it will be a tremendous boost for the economy in northern Devon and also for improving safety on this vital route.”

The scheme included in the Outline Business Case would widen the A361 from South Molton to Barnstaple, providing overtaking lanes on around 70 per cent of the route. It currently has overtaking lanes for 10 per cent of the stretch.

Junction improvements and safety upgrades would also be carried out between South Molton and Bideford. The road would continue to have a 60mph speed limit with the use of average speed cameras recommended to improve safety.

Councillor Barker said: “I’m really pleased with the news, it’s the culmination of so much hard work by us and Devon County Council over the last two years.

“Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long for a result for North Devon and it’s future economic growth but most importantly for the safer journeys the improvements will make.”

Councillor Whittaker said: “The business case submission is only the beginning of the journey, but the great news is that the journey has begun and I am delighted to have been there to support the submission of the funding bid.”

The County Council’s cabinet agreed to develop improvements to the route in phases in October.

Councillors supported a long term strategy which would provide additional overtaking lanes on sections of the Link Road and an urban four lane road, with two lanes in each direction, between Portmore roundabout and Roundswell roundabout.

The strategy also involves upgrading eight junctions along the A361 and A39, and to improve safety, all uncontrolled right turns would be removed and pedestrian facilities improved for over 35km between Bish Mill junction, east of South Molton, and Buckleigh Road Junction near Bideford.