AMBITIOUS plans to improve one of the key routes in Newton Abbot have taken a step forward as Devon County Council has submitted a bid for approval to widen the 250-year-old Stover bridge.
Highways engineers also want to alter a 150m section of the boundary wall to Stover Park as part of the scheme to widen the A382.
The project has been in development for several years and following detailed analysis and investigation into the Stover bridge section, the county council has applied to Teignbridge Council for listed building consent to carry out work on the bridge which is Grade II listed.
The application for listed building consent includes widening the bridge by 10m on its western side to accommodate an additional footpath and cycle path.
The proposals also need to make alterations to a 150m section of the boundary wall to Stover Park.
The A382 is a key artery connecting Newton Abbot with the A38 and highways bosses have been looking at ways to make improvements for several years.
The existing road is low standard, of poor alignment, with high traffic flows, slow speeds and a poor accident record with no provision for pedestrians or cyclists.
With residential development being built in the area, significant traffic growth is expected and without any improvement, the road would become over capacity and performance deteriorate.
The improvements will include realigning the section between Drumbridges and Whitehill across, a new road connection to Jetty Marsh, four new roundabouts and provision for cyclists and pedestrians.
The aim is to improve journey times and safety, increase capacity and reduce congestion.
The application to Teignbridge Council follows a number of options to cover the bridge and Stover Park.
The wall sections which will need altering are a 60m stretch starting just south of the Stover School entrance and a further 90metre section near the southern end of the parkland.
Made of Devon limestone, the walls abut the Grade II listed Stover bridge .
In a statement to planners, Devon County Council said: ‘The main conservation issue is the structural soundness of the wall.
‘It may be unstable in places and will require repairs to its original details.’
The bridge carries the A382 from Newton Abbot to Drumbridges over Liverton Brook.
A keystone carries the date of either 1773 or 1775 which is the time Stover was being laid by James Templer.
Engineers consider the bridge to be in a generally good condition considering its age.