Green light for A3121 safety improvements

Devon County Council has approved £1.9m worth of safety improvements for a key South Hams road.  

The A3121, which connects the A379 west of Modbury to Ermington and the A38 east of Ivybridge, will see 12 new safety measures introduced as part of the County Council’s successful bid to the Government’s ‘Safer Roads Fund’ to improve the 50 most dangerous A-roads in the country.

Between 2012 and 2016 (the period used in preparing the funding application for Department for Transport) there were 31 collisions on the 9km route, six of which were fatal or serious injuries.

Two specific locations along the road were identified as frequent collision points – Kitterford Cross, where there were seven injury collisions over the four-year period and the junction with the A379 west of Modbury, where there were nine.

The plan includes the creation of new roundabout at Hollowcombe Cross to improve the connection of the A3121 to the A379. It is currently very poor, with the sharp angle of the Modbury Cross junction giving little visibility of the fast main road. The new roundabout will accommodate traffic accessing the A379 and allow the Modbury Cross access to the A379 to be closed.

Kitterford Cross will also be subject to new safety improvements as the current alignment of the crossroads makes vehicle manoeuvres difficult and hazardous. Initial proposals suggested the creation of through route for the A3121 with two side road junctions to Loddiswell and Avonwick, but after concerns were raised by the parish council and Devon County Council’s Local Member for South Brent and Yealmpton, Cllr Richard Hosking, plans will be reviewed to see if a roundabout could be built instead, subject to the total cost for the entire scheme not exceeding the £1.9m grant funding.

The schemes will also see improvements to most minor road junctions on the route as part of a ‘whole route’ intervention plan, meaning measures will be implemented along the entire length of the road to improve safety and provide all road users with a more consistent experience.

These include widening a narrow 150m stretch of road between Wrangaton to Venn Cross and removing a central grass island to square up the junction at Well Cross as well as constructing a footway on the north side of the River Erme Bridge to connect Ermington Village to the walking route on the lane to Penquit.

The Council will also work closely with local landowners to re-profile hedges, banks and grass verges to improve visibility along the route as well as upgrade road markings and signage.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said:

“Improving the safety of our highways for all road users is a priority for Devon County Council. We want everyone in Devon, no matter what mode of transport they use, to be free to travel on our roads free from risk or fear of harm. These measures target the most severe collision points on the A3121 with major junction improvement works as well smaller schemes to reduce risk along the rest of the route.”

Devon County Council’s Local Member for South Brent and Yealmpton, Cllr Richard Hosking, said;

“Modbury Cross and Kitterford Cross have been accident blackspots on the A3121 for many years. In earlier years the A3121 was a B Road and the volume of traffic using these junctions has increased. There is concern locally that the change of priorities and predominant traffic flows at Kitterford Cross may create a little local confusion, and we are hoping for a roundabout.  However I am assured that the draft design will make both junctions safer for road users and this is very welcome.”

The schemes are expected to reduce incidents resulting in serious injuries on the A3121, as well as reduce journey times and localised congestion, which in turn will reduce carbon emissions.

As an extra and unique initiative from Devon County Council, local Approved Driving Instructors will also receive bespoke road safety advice about the A3121’s risks to help them better instruct drivers from higher risk groups and local communities.

The first phase of work is expected to start in Autumn 2019, with completion expected by 2012.