PLANS for the next phase of improvements to a vital link road near Newton Abbot have taken a major step forward.

Councillors have approved the next phase towards the ground-breaking, £56 million scheme to upgrade the A382 between Drumbridges and Newton Abbot.

Now the full business case is due to be submitted to the Department for Transport by the end of the year.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet endorsed moving ahead with the next stage of the scheme which is considered essential to support development of housing and employment in the area.

Upgrading the route is a crucial to Teignbridge District Council’s adopted Local Plan.

Devon County Council is aiming for the project to become the country’s first ‘carbon negative’ highways by driving down carbon emissions in the construction and maintenance of the road and was successful in a bid for £3.7 million.

It is also one of seven pioneering projects across the country which are part of the Live Labs 2 programme, funded by the DfT and organised by ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport).

This latest phase of the scheme includes a combination of road widening, realignment, junction improvements and the introduction of shared pedestrian and cycle paths.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said: ‘The A382 is a key route but the existing road between Drumbridges Roundabout and Forches Cross is of a low standard which has to carry a lot of traffic and has no pedestrian or cycling facilities.

‘This scheme will improve safety, improve journey times and support active travel.’

Last month’s decision by the Government to scrap the extension of HS2 has meant that additional funding from the DfT can be diverted into the scheme through the Major Road Network investment programme.

Subject to the Full Business Case successfully gaining funding, and an independent commercial review, DCC intends to award the contract to Milestone Infrastructure in early 2024.

Last month, Teignbridge Council approved a funding contribution of £1million from the Community Infrastructure Levy towards delivery of the pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular improvements.

The first phase, between Forches Cross and Whitehill Cross, was completed in 2021 and at the time, the council made a £5.1m Community Infrastructure Levy contribution towards works with a total value of £13.2m.

Work is expected to start on the latest phase next year after Devon County Council secured £38.12m from the government to upgrade the rest of the route.

The overall A382 scheme will enable the local plan development to come forward and improve access to Newton Abbot and the A38 by improving the A382 corridor for all modes.

The scheme consists of road widening, upgrading pinch point junctions, providing new roundabouts, and providing a new link to the south of the corridor and also includes major upgrades to walking and cycling provision.