Opening of A30 dual carriageway scheme reduces travel time and brings an extra £134m to Cornwall

One of Cornwall’s most important strategic routes has been transformed as the four lanes of dual carriageway between Temple and Higher Carblake on the A30 opens today. 

Long delays for motorists and queues of up to nine miles during peak season will be a thing of the past, with the improvement expected to bring big tourism benefits to Cornwall, as well as open up access for business investment and economic growth. 

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During its busiest time this section carried around 40,000 vehicles a day, with the annual cost of delays due to congestion for business, residents and visitors using the route estimated to cost more than £235m a year. 

The successful completion of the scheme is expected to bring more than £134 million into the Cornish economy each year, and play a key role in the future prosperity of Cornwall by encouraging economic growth and aiding regeneration, business expansion and housing delivery, and supporting tourism.  

Led by Cornwall Council, in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England, the £59m project has replaced the 4.5km stretch of road with a new dual carriageway which will not only improve traffic flows, but also provide more reliable journey times and help improve road safety. 

By funding the £4m costs of designing and proposing a scheme which significantly cut the cost of previous proposals, and then contributing £10m to ensure the delivery of the revised scheme, the Council’s involvement helped to significantly bring forward the construction of the dual carriageway. 

Councillor Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said "This is a great day for Cornwall.  The opening of the A30 at Bodmin Moor means better access, faster journey times, less traffic on local roads and millions of pounds in economic benefits for Cornwall.  It will also enable our emergency services to travel to incidents more quickly. 

"This is an excellent example of how the Council, the Dual the A30 Action Group, Highways England and the Department for Transport have worked together and not only delivered a project five years sooner than expected, but have saved nearly £60 million for taxpayers. 

“I would like to thank local residents and visitors for their patience while the roadworks were underway. In particular, the small settlements and communities across Bodmin Moor who have long campaigned for the A30 dualling and who will notice a big difference as congestion eases and fewer drivers take detours through narrow country lanes through the local villages.” 

The project includes the construction of three bridges - at Cardinham, Preeze Cross, and Temple Tor - providing access to the nearby local communities. The bridges at Preeze Cross opened today (14 July), with the bridge at Cardinham opening within two weeks and the third bridge at Temple Tor due to open during September. 

As well as demonstrating the Council’s ability to successfully deliver major infrastructure projects, the authority’s leadership of this key major project means DfT and Highways England have been able to focus on proposals to dual the next single carriageway section of the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross, the preferred route for which was announced on 3 July. 

Minister for Transport Jesse Norman MP said “The opening of the bridges and new section of dual carriageway on the A30 is a huge boost for local residents, businesses and the wider economy of the South West.  By reducing travel time and relieving congestion, these improvements will make the area an even better place, to live, work and do business.  

“We have also committed to investing up to £1.8bn to fund a programme of upgrades along the A303, including the Stonehenge Tunnel, which will transform journeys to and from the region”. 

Andrew Page-Dove, Highways England South West Director, said “We are incredibly proud to have worked in partnership with Cornwall Council on this important scheme that will improve safety and journey times, support the economy and connect local communities.” 

The opening of the dual carriageway has also been welcomed by the tourism industry as it has taken over 40 years to bring motorway and dual carriageway standard road from the rest of the country to the heart of Cornwall. 

“The industry will be delighted to see this bottleneck removed and open before the peak season“ said Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall. “It will mean that people can drive from all parts of the country and, once they join the motorway near them, there will be no single carriageway sections to slow their journey until they get to outside Truro”. 

Around 70% of residents in Cornwall and more than 80% of workers are based to the west of Temple, with more than three quarters of businesses surveyed at the start of the scheme predicting that it would have a positive impact on their business, and almost half saying it would result in increased investment and employment in their company. 

Mark Duddridge, Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Good infrastructure is critical to the success of any region and this stretch of road removes one of the most notorious bottlenecks in Cornwall. Congratulations to all involved.” 

Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said “The major benefits to businesses west of Bodmin Moor are that journey times will be shorter and more reliable for their goods, people and customers.  Today is a huge step towards Cornwall's future success. 

“We are delighted at the completion of these improvements to the A30 that will obviously allow businesses to save on costs and time” added Ann Vandermeulen, Development Manager, Cornwall Region for the Federation of Small Businesses. “Not only does this mean safer, faster journeys but this is tangible proof that by investing in improving our infrastructure we can make Cornwall an even more attractive prospect for those in business or those who come and spend money here. A great day for Cornwall and well done to all for making it happen!”. 

The development and construction of the scheme has drawn upon a range of Cornish businesses and craftsmen, with CORMAC leading on the early designs, environmental assessments and funding bids for the new road.  Cornwall Council and its contractors have worked closely with the Environment Agency and other members of the Local Nature Partnership to ensure that pollution is minimised and the natural environment is protected during this scheme. 

One of the notable features of the new scheme is the 5.5kms of Cornish hedging, which were all hand built by R Clemens Stonework Ltd.   “It has been two years hard work in a very exposed location” said Martin Clemens, “but it has been worth it, when you see what we have created and how the hedges are already becoming part of the landscape.  These hedges will be part of the landscape for generations to come.” 

The specialist stonework for the three bridges was provided by Cornish Stoneworks, based in Falmouth. 

Since construction on the dual carriageway began in June 2015 contractors Kier have cut around 300,000 tons of earth, equivalent to filling 226 Olympic sized swimming pools, and laid around 130,000 m² of tarmac, the equivalent of surfacing 18 Wembley sized football pitches and 15,000 metres of vehicle safety barrier equivalent to the distance between Chiverton Cross to Mitchell. 

2,750 cubic metres of concrete have been used to construct the bridges, with 19, 500 metres – 12.1 miles - of pipework installed as part of the drainage system - equivalent to the distance from Bodmin to St Austell.  The contractors have also built 5,500 metres of Cornish hedge as part of the environmental works, and planted 15,000 trees and shrubs and 95,000 square metres of seeding, equivalent to seeding 13 Wembley sized football pitches. 

Steve Mack, senior project manager for contractors Kier, said “We’re proud to have delivered the dualling of the A30, which is a strategically important scheme for Cornwall. It’s going to offer huge benefits to visitors and the local community alike, reducing congestion and helping people to go about their journeys – whether it’s a daily commute or a once a year trip – stress-free.”

“We would like to thank the local community for their support during the construction of this vital piece of Cornish infrastructure.”

Story posted 14 July 2017