North Devon Link improvements

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tompatt
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North Devon Link improvements

Post by tompatt » Fri Aug 11, 2017 19:47

Apologies if this has been done to death, our local MP has been in the local rag I was wondering what users thought of these proposals. There has been a number of fatal accidents in the first week of the holiday.

http://www.devonlive.com/devon-country- ... story.html

I don't think a full D2 is warranted but the addition sections of S2+1 are a welcome compromise. Locally the flat earthers think fatalities are iall due to 'idiot drivers' and it's not needed. If I need to travel a significant distance I use this road and to be honest it's a pain in the whatsit.

(Apologies if ive mangled my sabre terminology and this been discussed already. Mods please feel free to merge)

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vlad
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by vlad » Fri Aug 11, 2017 20:02

I notice they're proposing quite a few new roundabouts. Are they now seen as the general solution to every problem?
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DavidBrown
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by DavidBrown » Fri Aug 11, 2017 20:31

Hi tompatt - nice to see another north Devon user on here!
I live just a few hundred yards from the Borner's Bridge junction in South Molton which is the far eastern end of the proposed improvements, and trying to get anywhere this past couple of weeks have been a nightmare for me, but are small fry compared to those that have lost loved ones in these crashes. The consultation had just finished before this glut of accidents, and whilst we're still waiting for the results, my feedback was that the extra overtaking lanes are very welcome, but the junction designs are frankly terrible. Whilst safer, roundabouts are the main cause of congestion on the link road, often causing queues of several miles. I find it beyond belief that they're proposing more, and I was quite vocal when it came to allowing more and more local access roads direct access onto the link road as this will only add to the problems.
The only junction which looks to be of good standard is the West Buckland one where they're proposing grade seperating it in a similar way to the new ones on the A30 at Temple. Landkey junction would be another easy one to do like this, as there's already an overbridge very close by. Borner's Bridge, whilst a little more challenging, would also be very possible.
Have a look here for all sorts of details on it including plans and documents.

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jackal
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by jackal » Fri Aug 11, 2017 21:53

They should put GSJs in where possible and limit local access points as David said. They should also build D2 sections rather than S2+1, even if it means far fewer of them - after all, D2 gives an overtake opportunity in both directions, is safer, and won't be a dead loss if a full dualling scheme comes along later as S2+1 would be.

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Bryn666
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by Bryn666 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 22:04

Should have been a D2 from the start really, but in the absence of that I think the best we can hope for is WS2+1 sections and roundabouts at the really bad junctions.

That would be preferable to 50 limits and SPECS everywhere.
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by nick_dunn » Fri Aug 11, 2017 23:38

By coincidence, I've just driven this road today for the first time in a few years. Glad to say that given what has occurred recently, we had an unremarkable trip from the M5 right through to Bideford.

I always approach driving the NDLR with the expectancy that I will average about 45 - 50 mph up to Barnstaple and anything in excess of that is a bonus. Totally agree with David regarding roundabouts. It struck me today that just when the traffic flow settled down to a decent cruising speed with no tailgating as such, the roundabouts would occur and we would all bunch up and have to start again.

I think more S2+1 would be adequate although they need to be a decent length. At least a couple of the existing S2+1 sections are only around 400 yards or so which I think encourages erratic driving and you see some crazy late overtaking.

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by tompatt » Sat Aug 12, 2017 06:58

DavidBrown wrote:Hi tompatt - nice to see another north Devon user on here!
I live just a few hundred yards from the Borner's Bridge junction in South Molton which is the far eastern end of the proposed improvements, and trying to get anywhere this past couple of weeks have been a nightmare for me, but are small fry compared to those that have lost loved ones in these crashes. The consultation had just finished before this glut of accidents, and whilst we're still waiting for the results, my feedback was that the extra overtaking lanes are very welcome, but the junction designs are frankly terrible. Whilst safer, roundabouts are the main cause of congestion on the link road, often causing queues of several miles. I find it beyond belief that they're proposing more, and I was quite vocal when it came to allowing more and more local access roads direct access onto the link road as this will only add to the problems.
The only junction which looks to be of good standard is the West Buckland one where they're proposing grade seperating it in a similar way to the new ones on the A30 at Temple. Landkey junction would be another easy one to do like this, as there's already an overbridge very close by. Borner's Bridge, whilst a little more challenging, would also be very possible.
Have a look here for all sorts of details on it including plans and documents.

Hi David I'm from Bideford. A couple of things struck me
The North Devon Link Road serves as a gateway to northern Devon and northern Cornwall, connecting the regions to the rest of Devon and the UK via the M5. The route is comprised of the A39/A361 from the M5 Junction 27 to Abbotsham Cross Roundabout.
Not strictly true I work in Bude, if I want to access the M5 from there, I'll either use A395/A30 or A3072/A3079. Also I thought the North Devon Link originally ran from the M5 at Sampford Peverell to Fairy Cross not Abbotsham Cross

Additional lanes at Heyeood roundabout very welcome, it can get very congested. I'd even go further and suggest traffic lights to manage the flow.

Are DCC proposing to remove the climbing lanes between Bideford and Roundswell to widen the road?

S4 between Roundswell and Lake very welcome, assume SL would be 60 still?

S2+1 between portmore and Landkey hugely welcome, don't quite see the point in having the +1 westbound beyond Swimbridge. This section to West Buckland should be D2 IMHO

Landkey junction is a good idea, is it not possible to similar at Borners Bridge?

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jackal
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by jackal » Sat Aug 12, 2017 15:01

DavidBrown wrote:The only junction which looks to be of good standard is the West Buckland one where they're proposing grade seperating it in a similar way to the new ones on the A30 at Temple. Landkey junction would be another easy one to do like this, as there's already an overbridge very close by. Borner's Bridge, whilst a little more challenging, would also be very possible.
Have a look here for all sorts of details on it including plans and documents.
Now I had a proper look it seems Westleigh junction could also be GSJed fairly easily as it has the bridge already. Torridge Bridge is very high but from eyeballing the vertical alignment it probably only needs the loop on the north side of the A39 to be replicated to the south.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.02927 ... a=!3m1!1e3

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by tompatt » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:10

jackal wrote:
DavidBrown wrote:The only junction which looks to be of good standard is the West Buckland one where they're proposing grade seperating it in a similar way to the new ones on the A30 at Temple. Landkey junction would be another easy one to do like this, as there's already an overbridge very close by. Borner's Bridge, whilst a little more challenging, would also be very possible.
Have a look here for all sorts of details on it including plans and documents.
Now I had a proper look it seems Westleigh junction could also be GSJed fairly easily as it has the bridge already. Torridge Bridge is very high but from eyeballing the vertical alignment it probably only needs the loop on the north side of the A39 to be replicated to the south.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.02927 ... a=!3m1!1e3
Westleigh junction used to be a black spot. The road effectively became D1 (is that right term?) with a central bay for right turning traffic, with the traffic joining the A39 having priority over A39 traffic Leaving. It was a terrible confused mess of a junction, which after much hand wringing was solved by installing traffic lights and 40mph speed limit which despite the grumbling seems to have worked.

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by Pendlemac » Sun Aug 13, 2017 13:18

tompatt wrote:Westleigh junction used to be a black spot. The road effectively became D1 (is that right term?) with a central bay for right turning traffic, with the traffic joining the A39 having priority over A39 traffic Leaving. It was a terrible confused mess of a junction, which after much hand wringing was solved by installing traffic lights and 40mph speed limit which despite the grumbling seems to have worked.
The only Google images are from 2010 which show a clearly marked junction with a simple method of operation. Traffic turning right off the A39 has to give-way to traffic coming out of the sideroad to ensure that the sideroad traffic has a clear run into the refuge. So traffic exiting the sideroad waits for a gap in the e-bound flow and crosses to the refuge. W-bound traffic turning in waits behind the give-way line until the side road traffic and the e-bound mainline are clear. Simples.

Presumably something happened to the markings to make it confusing?

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by tompatt » Sun Aug 13, 2017 14:10

Pendlemac wrote:
tompatt wrote:Westleigh junction used to be a black spot. The road effectively became D1 (is that right term?) with a central bay for right turning traffic, with the traffic joining the A39 having priority over A39 traffic Leaving. It was a terrible confused mess of a junction, which after much hand wringing was solved by installing traffic lights and 40mph speed limit which despite the grumbling seems to have worked.
The only Google images are from 2010 which show a clearly marked junction with a simple method of operation. Traffic turning right off the A39 has to give-way to traffic coming out of the sideroad to ensure that the sideroad traffic has a clear run into the refuge. So traffic exiting the sideroad waits for a gap in the e-bound flow and crosses to the refuge. W-bound traffic turning in waits behind the give-way line until the side road traffic and the e-bound mainline are clear. Simples.

Presumably something happened to the markings to make it confusing?
It should be straightforward for knowledgable folk like yourself but many drivers couldn't get their head around the concept of traffic joining having priority over traffic leaving.

If you use the google map app rather than the web based platform you can see the configuration in use today.

Also there was no give way markings for left turning traffic coming from the A386 which merged directly becoming a crawler lane.

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by exiled » Sun Aug 13, 2017 17:23

Bryn666 wrote:Should have been a D2 from the start really, but in the absence of that I think the best we can hope for is WS2+1 sections and roundabouts at the really bad junctions.

That would be preferable to 50 limits and SPECS everywhere.
That would been preferable, but money came first. I only heard of the recent accidents on it after a colleague asked me if the A361 ran near where I am originally from. They instantly got the rep of the road when I replied, not knowing the fatalities 'Death Valley? Yes I know it well.'

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by haymansafc » Mon Aug 14, 2017 14:15

In the past on here, probably until around five or six years ago, I didn't think much needed to be done to the A361 NDLR. However, over the course of this decade my opinion has largely changed and I'm now very much of the mindset that it's capacity clearly needs to be increased. Even out of peak season when I tend to be down that way, I've seen an increase in traffic levels to the point I accept it's time for work to be done. If I notice this by using it one/two weeks a year, then the notable increase in traffic to locals must be obvious to see.

It's become more of a chore than a pleasure. Over the years, I've generally been lucky with the A361 NDLR and barring a few spots where traffic often backs right up or slows to a crawl. Heading east on the approach to A396/A3126 roundabout at Tiverton immediately springs to mind and west from South Molton through to Barnstaple (Portmore Roundabout) is usually sluggish/heavy. I wouldn't say it's a horrible road by any means as it's provided me many years of usually pleasant enough driving between the M5 and Braunton (where we then turn off…). However, the occasions where it's clear enough to actually enjoy it have very much reduced in number now, to the point it's now more unusual than it is common.

I feel the only way we're going to increase safety along the A361 is to increase the freeflow of traffic for the majority of users whilst providing safer access for local traffic joining. GSJ'ing West Buckland would be a very decent idea and similar should happen at Landkey. The latter has been an accident blackspot ever since I first visited the area back in the early 90's and it’s surprising nothing has happened to this junction before-hand. Another idea is to close off some of the existing 'T' junctions by providing parallel routes from these points to link them up to larger routes at roundabouts and any possible GSJ junction. Obviously this would cost a lot of money…

What would I do? I'd dual it where the space is available and if the dulled sections run up to the roundabout – widen those particular examples. I see no point of adding more lanes to roundabouts when the main problem is a lack of capacity on the actual road itself. Adding further junctions for local routes is just going to create further problems and restrict freeflow further.

Opening this former S2+1 back up again (this was bollarded off in 1997/8) would also help – although I understand why it was done with the junction being at the top. I'm sure it wouldn't take much to provide proper on/off slips here, to help improve safety…
Bryn666 wrote:That would be preferable to 50 limits and SPECS everywhere.
Even NSL along here can be too slow. 50mph would be truly painful!
nick_dunn wrote:By coincidence, I've just driven this road today for the first time in a few years. Glad to say that given what has occurred recently, we had an unremarkable trip from the M5 right through to Bideford.
From 1994 (my first visit) through to 2011/12 - I'd have said exactly the same! There's still moments it's a delight to drive but it's becoming less and less like this when I use it now...and that's almost always in the second half of September.
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by vlad » Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:08

haymansafc wrote:Even NSL along here can be too slow. 50mph would be truly painful!
From personal experience it's not even possible to do 50mph along the NDLR: there's just too much traffic.

Or do I always travel at the wrong time of year?
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by WHBM » Mon Aug 14, 2017 20:31

haymansafc wrote:GSJ'ing West Buckland would be a very decent idea and similar should happen at Landkey. The latter has been an accident blackspot ever since I first visited the area back in the early 90's and it’s surprising nothing has happened to this junction before-hand.
Funny you should mention that. I've only taken the road a few times since it opened, been on the A39 coast road more often than not, but was doing Barnstaple to Exford and Sat-Nav suggested A361, right turn into Landkey, then pass underneath and via Gunn. Got to the Landkey junction, pm peak, failing light, unbroken flows at 60mph in both directions, queue in the centre turn lane between opposing streams running at 120mph closing speed, to turn right ... took one look at that and said NO. Exford is off to the left, went on a way to the next left turn.

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by Stevie D » Mon Aug 14, 2017 20:38

haymansafc wrote:I'd dual it where the space is available and if the dulled sections run up to the roundabout – widen those particular examples. I see no point of adding more lanes to roundabouts when the main problem is a lack of capacity on the actual road itself. Adding further junctions for local routes is just going to create further problems and restrict freeflow further.

Opening this former S2+1 back up again (this was bollarded off in 1997/8) would also help – although I understand why it was done with the junction being at the top.
Be careful what you wish for. If volume of traffic is the main problem – rather than a few slow-moving vehicles that are difficult to overtake – then you might be making it worse. On a busy road, the transition from 2 lanes to 1 can cause massive knock-on delays. The A303 near Stonehenge and the A64 between York and Malton are prime examples of this ... the delays caused where dual-carriageways end can be out of all proportion to the time saved by enabling overtaking in the first place, as it disrupts the laminar flow of traffic. When drivers are generally too close together (ie, all the damn time), drivers can't easily pull back into the left lane and following traffic has to slow down to create space for them, and this sends a shockwave back down the line. The A64 can regularly see queues of well over half an hour purely from the transition from D2 to S2.

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by rileyrob » Mon Aug 14, 2017 21:23

vlad wrote:
haymansafc wrote:Even NSL along here can be too slow. 50mph would be truly painful!
From personal experience it's not even possible to do 50mph along the NDLR: there's just too much traffic.

Or do I always travel at the wrong time of year?
My most memorable experience was the first day of the millennium, when my big old Volvo went too fast, chasing a BMW. I think it took me under an hour to get from my mates house to work, when Google now suggests an hour and a half. Needless to say, the road was nearly empty, and when I've been on the road since, it has been a lot slower, even out of peak season.
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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by Jeni » Wed Aug 16, 2017 15:03

The trick to making good progress along the NDLR seems to be "wait until 11pm" - as I am doing tonight :)

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by jackal » Fri Sep 22, 2017 09:12

There are plans for a new GSJ on the A361 at Tiverton to access housing. It sounds like a LILO on the wb carriageway is already under construction, with money being sought for the matching slips on the eb carriageway and bridge to make a full GSJ.

Mid Devon DC is also seeking funding for short term J28 improvements.

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-new ... ost-515175

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Re: North Devon Link improvements

Post by CrazyInWeston » Sat Sep 23, 2017 09:12

tompatt wrote:
DavidBrown wrote:The North Devon Link Road serves as a gateway to northern Devon and northern Cornwall, connecting the regions to the rest of Devon and the UK via the M5. The route is comprised of the A39/A361 from the M5 Junction 27 to Abbotsham Cross Roundabout.
Not strictly true I work in Bude, if I want to access the M5 from there, I'll either use A395/A30 or A3072/A3079.
Went to Bude on holiday this summer (well, Widemouth Bay), I too took the A30/A395 route. Despite it being a little longer in miles driven, its actually quicker in time passing. I'd perhaps agree for North Devon, but not so for North Cornwall, the A30/A395 does that job very well.

The NDLR is a troll, a bully! It purposely diverts people away from the M5 after J27 and holds them all to ransom on the A361. :mrgreen:

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