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Roads to Nowhere

The Kingskerswell bypass could cause gridlock in Torbay

Sian Berry's picture

15 November: A new report shows that the knock-on effects of new traffic have been ignored by the County Council’s modelling.

The Kingskerswell Bypass is one of 45 transport schemes bidding for government cash this December, and our new analysis of Devon County Council’s modelling shows that, far from freeing up traffic flows, the Kingskerswell bypass will generate tens of thousands of extra car journeys in the local area, with unknown consequences.

Study area for the Kingskerswell BypassIn the traffic models submitted with the bid, the council hasn’t looked at any of the junctions in the wider area to see the impact of extra traffic.

A review of the bid documents, by transport consultants MTRU, shows that, with a new dual-carriageway in place, in 2031 at least 30,000 more cars every day will be leaving and entering the Torbay area from the north. But, despite this, the council's calculations specifically exclude the parts of Torquay south of the bypass from detailed study (see the diagram opposite, which shows the detailed study area stops just south of the bypass).

Importantly, this means that the economic benefits recorded for the scheme on the A380 past Kingskerswell are not offset by the delays and congestion it would cause elsewhere.

The MTRU report concludes:

"While there are very significant increases in traffic into Torbay (in some cases a doubling), caused by the scheme, the effect of this is not properly included in the model, and thus in all the economic and environmental assessments which depend upon it."

It also says that there are likely to be significant "unknown and widespread traffic effects" elsewhere outside the detailed study area (for example in Exeter) caused by the increase in traffic along the A380, and these effects are not included in the calculations either.

All this piles fresh doubt on the value-for-money claims about the Kingskerswell Bypass, with hundreds of millions of pounds of benefits recorded as time savings for drivers on the A380 itself, but no costs at all recorded for any knock-on congestion.

It’s clear that building this road could lead to gridlock at junctions in Torbay, and adverse effects could be felt across the county, but the council has simply left these issues out of its assessment.

Like many local authorities that are pushing for new road while ignoring cheaper alternatives, it seems they only want to see the benefits of their road scheme, and ignore the drawbacks.

Read the full report by MTRU here.