Thursday, 17 December 2015

South Devon Link Road Opens

You may think this is an odd post from me but like the amazing team that worked on the Dawlish railway line repair, I think this is worth a mention.

Otherwise known as the Kingskerswell Bypass the South Devon Link Road has been in the making for many years and residents of Torbay and tourists alike have suffered years of traffic misery, not to mention the people of Kingskerswell.

I was going to call the post The Magical Mystery Tour as coming home late at night on several occasions (from seeing bands play here, there and everywhere) recently, we have been sent on so many detours in the dark we feared we'd never get home.

I can't say that I'm a fan of this type of development, but personally I think a new road like this is much better than the thousands and thousands of homes being built in the region. They destroy habitat which is never put back, use land that is not suitable for large scale housing and are an eyesore. When developers profits come before everything else it's no surprise.

Anyway to get back on topic, even though there are no cute animals, flowers, trees or birds to be seen on the website, it's well worth a quick look. I have to say the website is great and designed by a local Devon IT company.

There's even a Flickr group with all the construction photos. Check out professional commercial photographer Tim Pestridge, who has taken aerial photos of the construction. Whilst your there Tim has many stunning images and a marvellous range of subjects in his gallery.

My personal favourites are the fly-by's and this is the best one by Matt of Skyflicks Media.


On the environmental side of things, it seems to have gone as well as can be hoped for. Here is an extract from the website:

..."the areas alongside the route will be planted with a variety of indigenous trees and shrubs covering an area of 115,000m2 (25 acres).

The plants have been carefully selected to match those prevalent in the area and will be maintained for several years to ensure they become established.

The plans include:

the planting of 63,700 native trees and shrubs to include pine, holly, privet, oak, beech, cherry, birch, alder, hawthorn, hazel, honeysuckle and rose.
300,000m2 (66 acres) of grass (using seed of various types).
900 linear metres of new stone faced and turf hedge-banks.

Specific ecological features have been included within the scheme to improve existing habitat and mitigate for loss of habitat. Features such as bat boxes, a bat loft and a bat chamber have already been created. 

Hibernaculum (artificial hibernation sites for reptiles and amphibians) are to be constructed and facilities for otters and badgers to cross the road through subterranean passages have been built. In addition, a considerable length of special fencing will be erected to prevent these mammals from inadvertently entering the highway".

It doesn't look pretty at the moment as the landscaping still has to be started. Here is the site clearance information (extract from the Community Liaison Group Meeting Feb 2013)

The scheme provides:
3.5km (2.2 miles) of new and translocated hedges,
15.5ha of new woodland, woodland edge planting and scrub, (38.3 acres)
100 new specimen trees.

Site clearance results in the loss of:
5.5km (3.4 miles) of field hedges and 0.44km (0.27 miles) of garden hedges,
70 mature individual trees,
1.1ha of woodland (2.7 acres).

It's such a shame that a lot of mature trees were lost and cannot be replaced.

However if you look at the loss of habitat, trees, hedges and open land that are being flattened for housing e.g. the continuing development at Whiterock, Paignton for example, there are no nice websites, facts or figures that are easily obtainable which show the environmental impact of such development. Who counted the trees?.....who measured the miles of hedgerow to be lost?..........who mapped out the hectares to be flattened?

The South Devon Highway (as it's now called) creates problems during construction and leaves a lasting impression on the landscape, but it has been a very public affair and you know what you're losing and gaining in the process.

Until next time
SeagullSuzie

16 comments:

  1. Well thank you very much for posting up the new roadway. I am amazed that the construction has taken such a time, for as you said it has been sorely needed for many a year and I would suggest since the late 60's!
    I do recall going from Torquay to attend a wedding in Exeter, we left home four hours early and arrived halfway through the reception very hot and tired!

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    1. Ah Mel I thought you might be interested in this post. Yes you are right it's been in the making for many decades. We have actually not gone places due to the road works and delays, there is a wonderful garden centre called Jacks Patch which is just beyond the roadworks. I just couldn't sit in all the jams to get to it....hubby is probably delighted....as the credit card always takes a bashing!

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  2. It does sound as though they've put environmental considerations to the fore, which is good. Hard balancing act but the reality is roads are used.

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    1. Agree CT. They have made a huge effort. I just wonder why housing estate sites are not made to publish all this data easily online before they clear the land and why they are not made to put back what they have taken.

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  3. As I've just said on another person's blog, all modern housing is ugly and nasty, and also cheap and not fit for purpose.

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    1. The land here Simon is not always suitable, we have a lot of subsidence, plenty of hidden caves, and that red earth which is very soft.

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  4. Having been stuck in that traffic on more than one occasion I'm glad it's now open. But even more so that the environment is being considered.

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    1. I think it'll be a huge relief to all, can't wait to travel on it.

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  5. Probably going to travel on it next next year!
    Julie xxxxxx

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    1. Well enjoy, it'll be so much faster.

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  6. The loss of mature woodland and trees is never a good thing but it is good that they have done their best to at least try and replace some of the damage done by the construction works, and that nature and wildlife have been considered during the project.

    The problem of housing is such a difficult issue isn't it, especially here in England as our already large population continues to grow, and I am afraid to say that my local town of Beverley is now blighted by so many new housing estates (the population of the town has doubled since I moved here some twenty years ago!). No doubt houses could be built with environmental concerns to the fore but in the end it always comes down to money I suppose.

    Hope you are well and many kindest wishes to all :-)

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    1. Hello David, yes Torbay is set for over 8,000 homes...where all these people are going to work I just don't know! In the 5 years we've been here we have seen so many fields disappear, it's heartbreaking.

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  7. I love, love, love the new road and Nature will ensure that new trees will grow, it will just take some time. We must practice a little patience.
    Margaret P

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    1. Agree Margaret, the new road seems to have gone down very well with everyone I know and I'm looking forward to trying it out. Once the landscaping is finished and everything settles in, it will be all worth it.

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  8. When my son was commuting by road from Exeter to Kingkerswell for a year and a half he saw the initial work on this road taking place. I am also not keen on new roads because of all the destruction that it causes in the short and long term.It is good as CT mentions that they give more consideration to this these days. Sarah x

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    1. Yes Sarah I think they have done a very good job with the road, the website and all the meetings, just shows what the internet is capable of providing, in this case it takes some of the worry and uncertainty from the project. Now if only we could get our slimy politicians to be so open...honesty will never come their way!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment. I read them all. At the moment I'm struggling for time making it difficult to reply individually to each comment, but I'll do my best.