A39 Camelford


The existing A39 route is the primary road through Camelford’s town centre. Its narrow carriageway impedes the flow of traffic. This leads to congestion, delays and associated environmental and community issues. Environmental issues include noise and air quality. Community issues may involve pedestrian obstruction.

The existing issues with the current A39 through Camelford are:-

  • The A39 was a Trunk Road maintained by the Highways Agency until it was de-trunked in 2002 and handed to Cornwall County Council to maintain
  • The A39 is now designated the ‘Atlantic Highway’ between Fraddon and the county boundary
  • The A39 is designated as part of the county’s Strategic Freight Network
  • The road links Wadebridge to Bude and provides the most direct route through the north of Cornwall
  • The route has to cope with a significant uplift in vehicle numbers during the summer months as a result of tourism in the local area
  • The town centre layout is restricted by a priority shuttle layout and traffic signals. This is causing queueing traffic and congestion
  • Idling vehicles, combined with narrow roads fronted by tall (3-4 storey) buildings impacts significantly on air quality
  • HGV traffic makes up only 7% of the total traffic flow but contributes nearly 40% of the NOx pollution

As a result of the above issues, Camelford was formally declared an Air Quality Management Area in January 2017. 

Cornwall Council met with Councillors and representatives of Camelford Town Council on 01 February 2017. Arising from the meeting was an action to undertake a high level route assessment for Camelford which would consider the following:-

  • Do-nothing assessment
  • Review how Camelford wishes to develop and what transportation interventions may be appropriate
  • Review the case for the 2004 Camelford bypass proposals
  • Consider intervention in High Street with traffic lights or other to alleviate congestion
  • Investigate use of LGV/HGV diversion route with possible upgrade
  • Give consideration to down grading of the A39 from A-road to B-road
  • Assess the option of a strategic route. This would facilitate a bypass of Camelford. It would also alleviate traffic currently travelling through Bodmin to access the north coast
  • Investigate signing options from the A30
  • Investigate and report funding opportunities

This work and the resultant report was finalised in October 2017 and can be downloaded below:-



It is the recommendation of the report that a temporary trial of the HGV diversion route should be progressed. This would enable the assessment of the effectiveness of the scheme without significant outlay for the project.

The Council is pursuing funding to undertake this temporary trial of the HGV diversion route. It is hoped that the trial can be undertaken during a forthcoming summer where traffic flows are at their greatest. This would allow assessments of traffic flows and air quality impacts to be undertaken. It would provide reliable evidence of the schemes impact.

The assessment of the different options in the report concluded that the construction of the bypass route for Camelford would be the preferred long term solution.

It is therefore the further recommendation of the study that funding should be sought to undertake:

  • an extended feasibility study and
  • an Outline Business Case for the bypass option

This would be in parallel to implementing the HGV diversion route trial. This would provide the long term solution to the traffic volume and air quality issues for Camelford.