Designs for a £13.45 million scheme to widen and improve one of Exeter’s busiest commuter routes have been approved by Devon County Council.
The County Council’s Cabinet today (Wednesday 11 November) backed the scheme to widen Bridge Road to two continuous outbound lanes between Countess Wear roundabout and Matford roundabout.
Bridge Road is a vital connecting route to the city centre, Sowton and Marsh Barton industrial estates, as well as linking to the Exe Estuary Trail. The route currently has the only single lane of the outer ring road between Middlemoor and the approach to Chudleigh Road near the A30, creating a bottleneck on the A379 corridor.
With around 30,000 vehicles using the road each day, the route suffers from tailbacks at peak times which block the Countess Wear junction and its approach routes.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “This scheme is vital to the continued growth in Exeter. Upgrading this route will reduce traffic queuing at the Countess Wear roundabout which will help keep traffic moving, reduce delays and ensure reliable journey times – all of which is key to support the housing and employment development planned in and around the city. The improvements will also improve sustainable travel options.”
Councillor Andy Hannan, Devon County Councillor for Priory and St Leonard’s, said: “I welcome this development and hope that it will have a positive impact on Countess Wear roundabout, particularly on the approach from Topsham which currently gets backed up in the morning rush hour encouraging motorists to use rat runs through the Glasshouse Lane estate. Who knows, if it’s successful we might not need to have an extension to the bus lane that uses the service road running alongside Topsham Road after all. In any case, levels of air and noise pollution following the road widening need to be carefully monitored and mitigating measures taken should there be problems.”
Around £2 million of the project costs have already been invested in the scheme design and on installing concrete piled foundations in the piers of the historic Grade II Listed Countess Wear Bridge, to support a new cantilevered cycleway and walkway. This will provide the space needed on the road over the bridge to be widened to two lanes in both directions, while also improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
The aim is for the scheme contract to be awarded in January 2016.