Delegation meets Secretary of State for Transport about A38

A modern A38 to support Plymouth’s plans to grow the region’s economy for years to come – that’s what the city, Cornwall and co-signatories of the A38 Case for Action have asked of Government.

A delegation of MPs and Councillors, including Plymouth MPs Luke Pollard and Johnny Mercer met Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling to ask for this key trunk road to be part of the next Road Investment Strategy – which will shape Highway England’s future investment from 2020 to 2025.

Cabinet Member for Transport Councillor Mark Coker said: “Most people in or near Plymouth know how critical the A38 is to their daily lives.

“It is a key route through the city, it is a road thousands of people use every day to get to and from work and it is a road on which 1.2 million vehicle hours are wasted by business travellers every year through delays.

“That is an extraordinary figure.  And it is extraordinary that despite the A38 being one of 30 priority routes identified for safety treatment by Highways England it is not in any scheduled improvement programme. We have been working with our Cornwall colleagues to change that.”

The delegation set out a number of short term improvements they want:

  • Capacity and safety improvements to the A38 junction at Manadon Roundabout to help unlock growth in the northern corridor
  • Capacity and safety improvements to Deep Lane Junction. (These will complement Plymouth’s Transforming Cities Fund which will help to facilitate the construction of the Park & Ride)
  • Improvements at Menheniot/Lean Quarry junction to address safety issues. (This will also complement the Transforming Cities Fund which would  facilitate the construction of Park and Rail facility and taking advantage of more frequent local train services between stations in Cornwall, Plymouth and beyond being introduced from 2019)
  • Capacity and safety improvements to Bodmin Parkway station.

The delegation reiterated concerns over the A38’s safety record.  Over five years, there have been 830 injury collisions between Bodmin and Exeter, of which 16 were fatal and 104 serious – that’s three and half times the national average for this type of road.

In total on the A38 between Bodmin and Exeter there have been over 1,500 unplanned closures in the last five years, which equates to six closures every week.  This compares poorly to the A30 where there were less than 500 unplanned closures in the same period.

In the long term the delegation is collectively calling for national funding for a strategy for the A38 from Exeter to Bodmin, so that costs, timescales and benefits of upgrading this route to a modern standard can be clearly understood.  This will include widening of the A38 between Weston Mill Junction (Naval Base access) and B3413 Forder Valley Interchange.

Investment in the A38 has the potential to generate £890 million in wider benefits to the area’s economy – but a strategy is needed to get this onto to the Government’s road improvements to-do list.

Councillor Coker added: “I’d like to place on record my gratitude to residents and businesses who have helped us get this hugely important scheme on the Government’s radar.

“We had a really constructive meeting and the minister has told us to work with the DfT and Highways England to secure a long term investment plan for the whole of the A38 starting in RIS2. We are on our way.”