Plans for Totnes bypass to improve air quality scrapped due to high costs

Totnes. Picture: Google

Totnes. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

Proposals for a new road to bypass Totnes as part of a bid to improve the air quality in the town are off the table.

Following a consultation on South Ham District Council's Air Quality Action Plan and Clean Air Strategy, the 'bypass to Totnes' plan has been deemed 'too expensive'.

The authority had been exploring ways that they can focus on the Air Quality Management Areas around Totnes.

Among the ideas in the plan was a bypass for Totnes, as 70 per cent of journeys on the A385, the main road that runs through the centre of the town, are from through traffic that doesn't need to enter the town.

However, the plan has been scrapped. The draft plan, which Totnes town council noted at the end of last month, said: "The cost of such a large bypass is likely to be very high due to the technical challenges posed by any route and the need to compensate landowners. "At this time it is felt not worth exploring further due to the excessive cost and environmental impact of such a large infrastructure project."

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Instead, the strategy proposes that Devon County Council should undertake a study to identify and make improvements to pedestrian, cycling and ultra-low emission vehicle usage in the six measures to be taken forward.

They include carrying out a review of pedestrian crossing points on the A385, installing electric vehicle charges points in council run car parks, green travel vouchers to promote alternatives to car usage, installing bike racks in key locations to promote cycling for short journeys, seeking contributions to support additional community bus routes and developing a regional cycling strategy for infrastructure improvements.

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The report says: "There are difficulties with the A385 corridor through Totnes, including the number of pedestrian crossing and potential impacts of traffic at peak times.

"There are a number of crossing that if improved would make pedestrian journeys more comfortable and safer, but careful consideration needs to be given to proposals to ensure they are safely designed and achieve a benefit to air quality." But the report said a new underpass from the train station across the A385 should be put on hold.

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