First look at detailed plans for Forder Valley Link Road

Residents and businesses along or near the Forder Valley will this week hear about how one of the city’s biggest ever infrastructure schemes will affect them.

A series of public information events is taking place to give people the low down on the Forder Valley Link Road and how it will be built. The new road will provide a much needed key link between the A38 and the north of the city, where new homes and businesses are being planned as the city grows.

A key feature is a new road bridge across Bircham Valley that will connect William Prance Road in Derriford to the junction of Forder Valley Road and Novorossiysk Road. A larger, relocated signalised junction will be constructed at the Forder Valley Road and Novorossiysk Road intersection as well as new walking and cycling facilities.  Improvements are also planned for the Forder Valley Roundabout to improve traffic flow and access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Once complete, the link road will help alleviate traffic on the A386 Tavistock Road and Manadon Roundabout, providing an alternative route to the north of the city and Derriford which is home to key destinations such as Derriford Hospital, the University of St Mark and St John and the Plymouth Science Park.

Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure said: “This is a huge project. Not only are we building a new bridge across a valley – which is a major piece of engineering – we are, in effect, lifting and shifting a junction up the road and raising it by five metres.

“The gains for the city are enormous. Once complete this road will be a new link between the A38 and the north of the city. It will help take the pressure off Manadon Roundabout and the A386 Tavistock Road and will reduce journey times and cut congestion.”

The landscape around the valley will change dramatically over the next few years, he said and added: “An awful lot of planning has been going to make sure that any loss to the natural environment is more than compensated for. We are already planting the first of 14,500 trees, we are creating new ponds and have a huge range of measures that will improve the quality of wildlife habitats in the valley. We have an environmental team working with the contractors.”

In order to carry out the work, traffic diversions will be needed. Most involve lane closures and contraflows but there will be a substantial road closure next summer – Forder Valley Road west will close for 17 months to enable the new road to be built up and to construct the new and enlarged junction as safely and quickly as possible. A signed diversion will be in place.

Councillor Mark Coker said: “We have spent months planning and designing how we can build this new link and to cause as little interruption as possible. We know this is going be inconvenient, particularly for those living in the wider Eggbuckland area, but wanted to give local people as much notice as possible that this is coming.”

The main scheme construction works are expected to start this Autumn with work on the bridge as well as the junction. Ahead of this, a number of utilities – such as broadband, electricity and water – will need to be moved and the project team is in touch with those residents affected.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £49 million. Earlier this year £22.56 million investment was confirmed by the Department for Transport towards to project with a further £4.7 million contribution from Highways England. The remaining funding will come from council and developer contributions.

Work is also expected to start on the Forder Valley (Leigham) Roundabout improvements in an effort to keep disruption down.The short merge from the roundabout heading north on Forder Valley Road is being extended and improved. Two lanes heading south are being extended and a short fourth lane on the southbound approach to the roundabout is to be added. An extra lane is being added on the roundabout itself between Forder Valley Road and the A38 eastbound slip road.

The subway under Forder Valley Road will be extended and walking and cycling facilities will be improved. These improvements will increase capacity and allow traffic to flow more smoothly, relieving congestion and queuing which currently extends back onto the roundabout and down the A38 westbound off-slip. The Forder Valley Roundabout Scheme will cost about £8.8 million, with a £5 million contribution from the Department for Transport.