South Devon Highway - a year on!12th December, 2016
The South Devon Highway has made a massive impact to the area across South Devon – that’s the message from Devon County Council and Torbay Council, a year after the road opened to traffic (15th December 2015).
Since that time, traffic patterns have shifted: official traffic counts note a significant drop in traffic along local roads, particularly in Kingskerswell, as most traffic now uses the new 5.5km route.
Initial data from ongoing air quality monitoring indicate Nitrogen Dioxide pollution levels along the old route through Kingskerswell have dropped by almost 50%. On an average weekday the new road carries in excess of 42,000 cars per day
Although the road opened to traffic in December last year, the project has been continuing over the past year, with work on drainage, fencing, landscaping, work to side roads and accommodation works in the surrounding area. The site offices have also been removed and the field landscaped to help it blend in with the surrounding grassland.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “Since opening, the South Devon Highway has substantially improved journey times in the area and improved life for residents. However, we have always known that this project was about more than just building a road – it was about building better connections to boost the economy.”
Gordon Oliver, Elected Mayor of Torbay said: “We are now a year on from the opening of the South Devon Highway and the impact has been considerable. Businesses, residents and the travelling public have all noticed a real improvement to their way of life. This is just the beginning and we look forward to reaping the benefits of opening up the area for years to come.”
Since opening the project has notched up a number of prestigious awards, including a National British Construction Industry Award for community engagement, two Institution of Civil Engineers awards, a gold Considerate Constructors award, an Institute of Highway Engineers award, a Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation award and a gold Green Apple award for sustainable use of materials. The project has also been shortlisted for a national ‘People’s Choice’ award: the winner will be announced in January 2017.