A361 and A39 to be widened as new transport plan for Barnstaple is unveiled
PLANS to update the road network around Barnstaple, including making stretches of the North Devon Link Road dual carriageway, have been presented to North Devon's highways and traffic orders committee (Hatoc).
The plans, which will form part of a new North Devon Local Plan, could see major changes to some of the town's busiest junctions and were put forward by Devon County Council's highways officers.
The proposal, which the committee heard on Monday, lays out plans to make the stretch of the A361 North Devon Link Road between Landkey junction and Portmore roundabout into dual carriageway and plans to enlarge Roundswell roundabout to allow two lanes of traffic to go straight through it.
There are plans for a new junction on the A39 at Brynsworthy which would run through Tews Lane into Bickington, widening of the A39 between Lake and Roundswell roundabouts and accesses to planned developments at sites such as Larkbear and Mount Sandford Green.
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There are also plans to improve pedestrian and cycle routes, with bridges drawn onto the map at Anchorwood Bank over the river Taw and the rail line at the bottom of Sticklepath Hill; there are improvements planned to existing park and ride schemes and areas of land identified which must be protected to allow for future road improvements.
In total there are 20 points around Barnstaple identified as needing improvement.
Vice-chairman of Hatoc Geoff Fowler said: "As someone who lives outside Barnstaple, most of the recommendations make sense."
"I'm pleased to see county council has put a great deal of thought into the proposals but there will need to be more when the public consultation takes place in the new year.
"And it's important not to forget this is a long term plan, not a quick fix."
The proposals, once adopted as part of North Devon's new local plan, will be implemented over a 20-year period.
But Hatoc chairman Rodney Cann is not entirely convinced by them.
"This was probably the most important Hatoc meeting we'll have for a long time," he said.
"These are important proposals and in some ways are quite like a jigsaw puzzle. If all the pieces don't go together it could mean trouble.
"There is very little funding in place for these plans and we'll be depending on developer input to make them happen."
That means there are question marks over how much of the work will go ahead.
And there are more question marks, said North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade.
"To put it in perspective this is just officers consulting with local members," he said. "None of these are firm decisions and the officers will be coming back to us on this."
But he said it was encouraging that so many traffic hotspots had been identified and addressed.
"For the future of Barnstaple we do need to address these issues," he said.
"We are still benefiting from the Western Bypass but that has a shelf life.
"Anyone who lives on the south side of Barnstaple knows that Roundswell gets completely jammed up every morning and night."