A £30 MILLION scheme to improve one of the most dangerous roads in Devon has been slipped into top gear by Devon planners.
They have ordered ‘full speed ahead’ for widening the hazardous route from Newton Abbot to Drumbridges which will improve journey times and safety. The major project will involve straightening out dangerous bends, widening the section from Trago Mills to White Hills Cross and developing a dual carriageway between Drumbridges and the Trago Mills roundabout. It also includes a new road from White Hills Cross to West Golds Way at Jetty Marsh. County Hall officers hope the project will support economic growth and boost planned housing development to the west of Newton Abbot. Shared footpaths and cyclepaths will also feature in the venture to encourage sustainable travel. The A382 - Newton Abbot’s main connection to the A38 - is listed as the eighth worst A-road in Devon in terms of safety. There have been two fatal collisions on the road in the last five years. Traffic flows show 900 vehicles per hour head south to Newton Abbot during the evening rush hour. The widening scheme would increase capacity, and the new link would alleviate congestion. Cllr Jerry Brook, chairman of the development management committee, said: ‘This scheme will create a new gateway to Newton Abbot which will be safer and provide more reliable journey times. ‘In reaching its unanimous decision, the committee considered that the benefits of this scheme outweigh the impacts as a number of mitigation measures will be made to minimise the noise impact and impact on the local environment.’ Newton Abbot county councillor Jackie Brodie said: ‘The A382 is hugely important to the town - but it is widely recognised that it is sub-standard for all road users. ‘It’s a long-awaited road improvement that will not just benefit safety, but cut down on the amount of rat-running through Highweek Village. ‘And through the provision of a wide shared use cycle/footway it will also encourage people to travel by other means than the car.’ Bovey Tracey member George Gribble added: ‘The road in its current state won’t be able to deal with the traffic flows that the new developments will create, and its safety record already needs to be improved. This scheme will bring many benefits to the area.’ Teignbridge Council leader Jeremy Christophers, said: ‘This investment for a ‘golden thread’ through the heart of the district is crucial to the development of our local economy. It connects Kingsteignton and Newton Abbot to the A38 Expressway, but an equal benefit is that it also binds Bovey Tracey and Heathfield into quicker access to the heart of Teignbridge. ‘This is more than just a road, as it will also provide cycleways and walking routes. I am very excited that this will deliver jobs, homes and leisure opportunities for the future.’ Newton Abbot Town Council fully supports the proposals. No objections were raised by Teignbridge District Council’s planning department, the Environment Agency or Devon Gardens Trust. Natural England also raised no objections subject to mitigation measures to protect bats. Although the scheme will have an effect on Stover Golf Club, the county council has planning permission to enable remodelling of the course to move five holes on land required by the new road. The improvement scheme will be carried out in three phases. Phase one covers Newton Abbot to Forches Cross, including Jetty Marsh. Phase two is from Forches Cross to Trago Mills roundabout and phase three ropes in a dual carriageway section between the Trago Mills roundabout and the A38.