Lagan Construction Group has been appointed by Devon County Council to deliver a £13.45 million scheme which will develop two continuous outbound lanes from Countess Wear to the Matford roundabout on one of the busiest routes into the city.
The 14-month scheme will commence in the last week of February with utility diversion work at the Glasshouse Lane junction and the east side of Countess Wear Bridge.
Throughout March, April and May, the east side of the Countess Wear Flood Relief structure will be removed and rebuilt to accommodate the widened road alignment. This work has been given flood defence consent by the Environment Agency and will have minimal impact on flood defences.
The new pedestrian and cycle bridge to be attached to the west side of the Grade II Listed Countess Wear Bridge will be fabricated off-site, and when the new bridge abutments are complete, the new bridge will be craned into position by January 2017.
Once all of the major structural work is complete, it will enable the new road surfacing and road markings to be laid by March 2017. Fencing, pedestrian guardrails and some landscaping will also be completed during this period.
The route is one of the busiest commuter routes into the city centre, carrying 30,000 vehicles a day. It is also a key route for bus services, with approximately 16 buses using the route during peak hours. However, the outbound section which merges from two lanes into one currently creates a bottleneck on the A379 corridor, leading to queuing at Countess Wear roundabout and its approach roads.
“Widening Bridge Road is essential in order to maintain economic growth in Exeter and the county as a whole. This is a busy route which is at capacity, so this upgrade will get traffic moving and reduce journey times, which will help unlock major development in the area. In the meantime please plan your journey and allow extra time.”Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth
The scheme is being funded using a combination of developer contributions as well as £5.3 million from the Heart of the South West LEP’s Growth Deal funding.
“The Bridge Road widening is one of the first of our Growth Deal funded projects to start on site, so it marks the beginning of a whole calendar of significant projects that will improve the transport infrastructure for the area and have a positive effect on the economy. Heart of the South West Growth Deal projects are selected on the basis of benefitting the whole of the area as well as the immediate location. As we develop a pipeline of projects which complement each other to deliver transformational growth, we are really seeing the progress take shape of our Strategic Economic Plan.”Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP
Creating two continuous lanes will aim to tackle traffic queues, improving the reliability of journey times for all traffic, while at the same time improving links for pedestrians and cyclists.
For the safety of the travelling public and site staff, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Countess Wear roundabout and Matford roundabout throughout the scheme. There will also be a 20mph speed limit and a number of overnight or weekend road closures. Closure dates will be advertised on signs well in advance.
“This is a lengthy scheme, due to the complexity of the work needed on the structures on this route. However, the long term benefits will be worthwhile and will improve sustainable travel options as well as tackling congestion.”Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management
“This is a case of short-term pain intended to bring about long-term gain. In general I welcome this development and hope that it will eventually have a positive impact on Countess Wear roundabout, particularly on the approach from Topsham which currently gets backed up in the morning rush hour. If the extra lane means that motorists are no longer tempted to use rat runs through the Glasshouse Lane estate the work will have been worthwhile.”Councillor Andy Hannan, local County Councillor for Priory and St Leonard’s
“Lagan Construction Group is delighted to have secured this significant infrastructure contract by Devon County Council. We have a fully committed team to ensure this contract is delivered with the highest safety standards, within programme and cost requirements for Devon County Council.”Gavin McKevitt, Operations Director for Lagan Construction Group
The first phase of the scheme was completed in Spring 2014, when concrete piled foundations were installed in the piers of the historic Grade II Listed Countess Wear Bridge. These will support the cantilever pedestrian and cycle bridge which will be constructed along the upstream side of the bridge.
As part of the widening, the Swing Bridge will be rotated by around a metre to improve its alignment to accommodate two lanes to Matford roundabout. The toucan crossing will also be relocated to the northern side of the canal, and the junction of Countess Wear Road and Bridge Road will be reconstructed.
Work will be carried out by Lagan Construction Group.
Pictured: Attendees at the Sod Cutting Event which took place on 15th February 2016.