Until the opening of the South Devon Link Road in December 2015, the road was the primary route between Newton Abbot and Torbay, but traffic has since fallen by around 80 per cent.
Because it was formerly a key road, at between 9 and 11 metres, it is much wider than a typical village road. Five years ago the width was reduced by re-marking advisory cycle lanes each side of the carriageway and removing the centre lining.
A 20mph zone was introduced too, starting south of Avenue Road on Newton Road, and extending south just past Water Lane on Torquay Road with the most significant changes at Jury’s Corner.
However, while a report to the Teignbridge highways and traffic orders committee said these works were ‘generally successful, leading to a reduction of average speeds by 5mph and a reduction in road traffic collisions,’ it found many drivers are breaking the reduced speed limit.
Speed detection radars found that in the 20 mph zone south of Jury’s Corner, the average speed was over 27 mph, while in the 30 mph section south of Southey Drive the average was 32 mph.
The new measures will see so-called ‘gateways’ introduced along the 20 mph section, which will work on a give-and-take basis.
Traffic leaving the 20 mph zone will have priority, forcing those in the 30 zone to slow down.
‘Traffic cushions’which raise up in the middle of each lane but don’t go across the full width of the road will be introduced – making it easier for larger vehicles including emergency vehicles to get through.
An officer told the committee that ‘enhanced gateways’ and ‘contrasting coloured surfacing’ will also be added to the 30 mph section to make entrances more obvious and let drivers know they’re entering a reduced speed area. The coloured surfacing in the middle of the road will give the impression of narrower road width.
Councillor Alistair Dewhirst said: ‘Jury’s Corner was one of the most dangerous locations in the south west a long time ago, before this work was done…there’s an awful lot of traffic that goes through that junction – not just cars to the school but it’s a very large primary school just up the hill from that junction.’
He added: ‘The vast majority of children from Kingskerswell walk to school – which is really great – and they cross that junction.’
He claimed some vehicles were approaching it at 40 and 50 mph, while along the 30 mph section the village’s speedwatch scheme recorded people doing ‘nigh on 70 mph’.
Cllr Dewhirst continued: ‘Clearly something needs to be done. I very much recommend this to colleagues. T
he 20 mph scheme will protect the school and the users of the school and the many people who use that Jury’s Corner junction.
The 30 mph section will protect users to the south of that junction as we head down towards Torquay.’
The committee unanimously backed the scheme, the money for which will come from ‘capital allocation’ agreed as part of the local transport plan.