Major �700,000 road works begin near Combe Martin on Monday
WORK has begun on a �700,000 road safety improvement and widening scheme on the A3123 near Combe Martin. The road links Berry Down with the A399 to Blackmoor Gate but the section between Long Lane and Seven Ash is very narrow, with tight bends and bounded
WORK has begun on a �700,000 road safety improvement and widening scheme on the A3123 near Combe Martin.
The road links Berry Down with the A399 to Blackmoor Gate but the section between Long Lane and Seven Ash is very narrow, with tight bends and bounded by Devon hedge banks, making it difficult for large vehicles to pass each other.
It is an essential route for both visitors and locals, but has a history of collisions and there have been longstanding plans to improve the safety of the section from Easter Close Cross and Berry Down Cross.
Work is currently underway, but as the existing road is so narrow, it will have to be closed for a few weeks while the road is widened, and traffic will be diverted via Combe Martin for seven weeks from Monday (14 September.)
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After this initial stage, there will be traffic signals and a one way system for the following seven weeks. Although the work has been scheduled for one of the quietest times of the year in terms of traffic volumes, drivers are asked to allow extra time for their journey and to be especially considerate when driving through Combe Martin.
Councillor Andrea Davis, County Councillor for Combe Martin Rural, said: "This section of highway has an horrendous accident record and many residents avoid using the road if possible.
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"This scheme is long overdue and I'm delighted that work is at last underway. Local motorists will notice a real difference once the work is completed on this important route.
"This is in a particularly sensitive part of the countryside and every effort is being made to respect the natural environment by retaining hedgerows."
Wherever possible, the existing Devon hedge banks will be preserved by moving them to their new sites on the edge of the widened road. This not only preserves the local character, flora and wildlife of the hedges, but it minimises the cost.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, added: "This is another example of an important investment in Devon's highway network on what is an important route to our local economy.
"These improvements should make a real difference in improving safety and easing traffic congestion, and I'm pleased that the preservation of local habitats has been considered as a priority within this scheme. Due to the narrow width of the road there is no alternative to the closure and diversion but I hope residents realise the long term benefits that this will provide."
Contractor Jackson Civil Engineering is scheduled to complete the scheme in mid December.