Saturday, 23 December 2006

Roadworks progress

There is good news on the progress of roadworks in Devon and Cornwall! First up is the removal of the Merrymeet roundabout on the Devon section of the A30 between Okehampton and Exeter. There is now an overbridge to allow connection with the side roads; the scheme was completed some months ahead of schedule much to the relief of everyone I should have thought because there have been very substantial delays during the construction.

Good news too in Cornwall - the new dual carriageway linking Indian Queens to the Bodmin Bypass looks as if it will be completed early and certainly in time for the bulk of next summer's traffic. This scheme will avoid the bottleneck of Iron Bridge where the Newquay to Par railway line crosses the existing A30, this bridge being substandard in height and having been damaged many times by high vehicles. The new route also goes around the north side of Goss Moor instead of bisecting it. Great efforts are being made to accommodate the wildlife here such as underpasses for badgers and otters and also special fences to stop these animals from trying to cross the road at road level. Another pleasing feature is the considerable use of waste material from the local china clay tips in the road construction.

Cornwall again. The long awaited construction of the Dobwalls bypass in the south east of the county began recently. That one should complete in 2008.

Now up to North Devon where the Barnstaple western bypass and downstream bridge appears to be progressing very well and should I think be open by next summer. I haven't been to Barnstaple recently but my memories even years ago was of apalling congestion. As at Bideford I think that the new bridge will be quite an aesthetic structure: I look forward to crossing it one day.

Although I am passionate about the environment I am strongly supportive of these particular schemes. The construction phase of course uses a lot of energy and natural resources but when complete has the potential to save road fuel, reduce journey times, reduce accidents, help business and last, but definitely not least, provide a much better environment for those living next to the existing main roads. I am supportive of Friends of the Earth regarding many issues (the excessive clout of the big supermarkets for instance) but they almost seem to object to road schemes out of principle and that I don't agree with.

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