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A38 Case for Action

Cornwall Council has joined other councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships and MPs in Cornwall and Devon to call for government investment in the A38 to boost the local economy, improve safety and cut congestion.

As well as improving safety, improvements to the A38 corridor are critical to sustainable economic growth, with 52,000 additional jobs and 52,000 homes planned by 2034, and building a stronger wider transport network.  Without investment, people’s safety will continue to be at risk and planned economic growth will not be possible.

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Download the A38 Case for Action summary or full report here:

The A38 corridor from Exeter to Bodmin is one of two strategic road routes across the peninsula, linking Cornwall, Plymouth, Torbay and Devon.  The road is of varying standard, passing through both rural and urban areas, with congestion and poor journey times on some sections.  A lack of strategic investment in the route means there is poor access between key centres, and it is widely considered to be holding back regional economic growth.

Economic growth: Without improving the A38 corridor, nearly £900m of productivity growth and induced investment will be lost.  The majority of the region’s current economic activity and planned future growth is on or around the A38 corridor.

Alternative routes: The A38 is a critical strategic link for the South West Peninsula.  In recent years winter storms have caused repeated damage to the main rail line into the South West Peninsula.  Having two high quality roads into Cornwall would provide vital alternative routes into the county.

Safety: Sections of the A38 have accident rates of more than twice the national average. Over five years there have been 830 accidents involving injury between Bodmin and Exeter, including 100 serious accidents and 16 fatal accidents. 

Congestion: Congestion and incidents on the A38 cause tailbacks to the M5 and through Exeter.  Without improvements to the road, vehicle delays on the majority of the A38 are forecast to increase by over 100 hours lost per mile by 2041.

Air quality: There are air quality issues along the A38, with Air Quality Management Areas at Tideford and Dean Prior.

The A38 Case for Action calls for improvements to the A38 as part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) programme.

The case is supported by Cornwall Council, Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council, Torbay Council, West Devon Borough Council, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, MPs in Cornwall and Plymouth and key business stakeholders in the region

A copy of the A38 Case for Action was presented to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling as part of his visit to Cornwall on 22 June 2018.

A public consultation was held on the Strategic Road Network Initial Report from November 2017 to February 2018.

Download the Cornwall Council response here:

The Department for Transport’s response to the public consultation is expected in summer 2018.