A38 junction set for improvement ahead of £1m quarry extension
The proposed improvements to the Exeter-bound junction of the A38 seek to widen the existing off-slip lane to provide a dedicated off-slip lane for Caton traffic in advance of the Goodstone off-slip road
Major improvement works to a junction on the A38 are planned ahead of a £1m scheme to extend Linhay Hill Quarry in Ashburton, but could see four months of lane closures on the dual carriageway.
Quarry owners Glendenning say their extension plans would generate a £6million boost to the local economy over the next 40 years and would secure the future of 240 jobs.
Dartmoor National Park planners are still considering the fate of the application, but now plans for improvements to the Caton Cross junction on the A38 have been submitted to Teignbridge District Council planners.
The proposed improvements to the Exeter-bound junction of the A38 seek to widen the existing off-slip lane to provide a dedicated off-slip lane for Caton traffic in advance of the Goodstone off-slip road.
The application says: “The improvements to the off-slip lane at Caton Cross have been developed in response to concerns raised by Highways England in connection with the proposed extension to Linhay Hill Quarry.
“The improvements seek to provide a nearside auxiliary lane, of approximately 120m in length for Caton Cross which will enable left turning traffic to decelerate off the main through carriageway, while separating the turning to Caton Cross from the off slip for Goodstone Cross by the use of hatching on the road surface.
“Separate road marking arrows will be provided on the surface of the A38 for the Caton off-slip and Goodstone off-slip to show the separate junction turnings, supplemented with appropriate signage.
“This junction design is based on an approach similar to improvements that have recently been implemented at the Exeter-bound junction of the A38 at South Brent to separate the off slip for the Filling Station with that for the B3372 and South Brent.”
Construction works are anticipated to take four months, the document reveals, and adds that any tree clearance may have to be a separate exercise as this can only take place outside the bird nesting season.
The nearside lane of the A38 will be closed for the duration of the works to the highway and it is hoped that Caton Lane will be able to remain open for the majority of the construction, with possible night time closures as appropriate to further minimise disruption.
The application states that the improvements to Caton Cross are proposed to be undertaken as the first phase of the proposed quarry extension and would be in place before the Alston Lane and Alston junction, an ancient Roman road that was initially a sheep track, would be closed off and a new replacement route would be created.
If both applications are approved by planners, the application for the slip road improvements and the main application for the quarry extension will be separate planning permissions, linked by a condition on the planning permission for the quarry extension requiring implementation of the slip road improvements at an appropriate time.
A decision is expected to be made later in 2018 by Dartmoor National Park planners on the main quarry extension application, which would allow considerably more overburden from the extension area to be backfilled into the existing quarry, rather than being used to form further bunding around the quarry extension.
This would also allow the new quarry extension to be opened up more gradually across the extension site, taking some 46 years to complete, instead of about 27 as was originally proposed.
Teignbridge District Council planners will decide on the application for the improvements to Caton Cross involving lengthening off-slip lane and associated alterations to traffic island, road markings and adjacent footpath/cycleway, replacement and compensatory planting and temporary construction area within the highway.