Think tank to end A39 traffic misery?

Joseph Bulmer

Ideas to solve traffic congestion at Roundswell roundabout are aired at area highways meeting

IDEAS to relieve congestion misery for thousands of Barnstaple commuters have been aired at a meeting of local highway planners.

A new road link is among the options being examined to help alleviate jams at the A39 Roundswell roundabout.

A suggestion to remodel lanes at the junction was also put to councillors sitting on Devon County Council’s North Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee.

The verbal report followed a recent survey carried out to monitor traffic levels on the A39 from Portmore to Roundswell at different times of the day.

Committee chairman Rodney Cann said: “The stretch of road is becoming an absolute nightmare at peak times – it is solid most mornings and evenings with major congestion.

“Despite the traffic load taken by the new Downstream Bridge, it’s become a misery for many people trying to get to and from work at the moment.

“The traffic survey was carried out to look at the options for the future but in spite of future developments likely to take place at Roundswell, I am concerned about the immediate pressures – we can’t cope with what we have at the moment.

“It’s just an idea at this stage but a new link road further down from Roundswell onto the A39 is being looked at as a possibility.”

A spokesperson for the county council said any proposals were at a “seminal” stage and that a solution would be unlikely before the publication of the North Devon and Torridge Joint Core Strategy, a key local development document that will set out guidelines for development in the region between now and 2026.

The spokesperson said: “Studies have been undertaken that show the Roundswell junction is running over design capacity at peak times of the day.

“These issues need to be considered in context with any proposed developments in the area but we will be meeting with officers and elected members to try and establish a common ground for developing a solution.

“Any ideas are at a very early stage and we wouldn’t want to scare or enthuse people until we know what will work and what won’t.”