Heatwave gets work on bypass off to a flying start
The budget and time-scale for a multi-million-pound bypass through a notorious Westcountry bottleneck is on target – and the sizzling summer weather has helped.
The team behind the £109 million South Devon Link Road has said the project got off to a "good start" and the heatwave has helped keep it on track to open in December 2015.
The Kingskerswell bypass is well under way, with up to 200 workers on site – 65% of them employed locally.
A great deal of the major excavation work – some 20m deep – has already been carried out. By the winter, construction will start on the 5.5km-long dual carriageway.
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It is hoped the road will improve journey times between Newton Abbot and Torquay and will create 7,500 jobs for South Devon.
Jim Watson, of contractors Galliford Try, said: "You should see some activity at Penn Inn roundabout in the next couple of weeks and we've more excavating to do before we start on the construction. As well as creating the road, we've had a lot to deal with in terms of ecology, with moving badgers, slow worms and bats. This is cleared up now and we've even got a culvert for bats to use on their flight path."
Paul Couttie, project manager for Devon County Council and Torbay Council, who is based on site, said the landscape is changing every day.
"This summer has helped us get ahead in terms of the earth work and time is money," said Mr Couttie. "This winter we will be focusing on the structure of the road."
One of the biggest challenges will be putting in a 300m-long tunnel over the railway line at Aller, which is used as the Torbay branch line.
"It's a huge technical challenge," he said.
It has been confirmed that the controversial £7,000 palm tree at Hamelin Way roundabout will be relocated as part of the bypass plans. "It will be put in a pot, nurtured and relocated," said chief engineer Rob Richards.