West Buckland junction ‘not dangerous enough’ to warrant major improvements, say highways officers

New warning signs could be introduced to improve road safety at the West Buckland junction on the A361 North Devon Link Road.

The ‘low cost’ option are set to be presented to the North Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee today (Tuesday).

It follows Devon County Council analysis that found the junction – the scene of one ‘serious’ and four ‘slight’ injury incidents between 2004 and 2014 – did not warrant major improvements.

The news will come as a blow to villagers in West Buckland, who have long been campaigning for improvements at the junction.

In 2014, the Gazette reported that councillors voted against officer recommendations to leave the junction as it is, opting instead explore the option of a new lane to help slow the traffic down as it turns off.

But a new report by highways officers said: “In isolation the junction at West Buckland does not exhibit a poor collision record and it is not a site that would currently be considered for junction improvements on road safety or capacity grounds.

“The existing junction in terms of its layout and design is appropriate for its location and the traffic movements that it generates.

“It is recognised that there is a local desire for a deceleration lane to be introduced for left turning traffic towards West Buckland, or for a higher standard of junction layout to be considered.”

But the report suggested that new advance direction signage for the junction could be located further to the west.

“This would give approaching drivers earlier awareness of the junction ahead and of any vehicles potentially slowing to turn,” it said.

“Another lower cost improvement could be to consider extending the double white line road markings and merge arrows to the west.

“This would give drivers overtaking on this eastbound approach earlier guidance to merge back into single lane traffic before the junction. Similar measures could also be considered on the westbound approach from the M5.”

The report did say the county council was developing a strategy for improvements to the A361 and A39 as a whole.

“Future design work will consider this section of the North Devon Link Road and its junctions, but as part of a consistent strategy for the route,” it said.