Road safety improvements on A35 move step closer

Heavy goods vehicles thunder through Wilmington on the A35.

Heavy goods vehicles thunder through Wilmington on the A35. - Credit: Tim Dixon

Highways experts say they are finalising the feasibility study being carried out on a long-awaited plan to improve safety on the A35 between Honiton and West Dorset.

And it can’t come a moment too soon for people who live alongside the busy holiday route.

Teams at Highways England are developing a scheme which would see average-speed cameras installed along a 13-mile stretch from the outskirts of Honiton to the Charmouth roundabout. 

Devon county councillor Martin Shaw, whose ward covers Offwell and Widworthy where villagers live next to the A35, has been campaigning for improvements to the single-carriageway holiday route for several years.

He said: “This has been a long time in the making. I have been supporting Widworthy Parish Council and the A35 Action Group for the last four years. They are pressing for two crossings and other speed-reduction measures in Wilmington, as well as Offwell Parish Council, who want reduced speed limits on their section. 

“These issues are part of the discussion with Highways England and we are looking forward to a further update from them this spring, moving towards the approval of plans in 2021-22 and implementation in 2022-23.”

Five years ago, Highways England’s consultants recommended a set of improvements to the A35 through Wilmington, between Honiton and Axminster, but nothing has yet been done.

Most Read

More than five million vehicles drive through the village each year – nearly 14,000 vehicles a day – and a fifth are goods vehicles.

Andy Roberts, Highways England route manager, told the Herald: “We’re committed to improving safety on the A35 and currently working on a number of studies, including options around average speed cameras between Honiton and Charmouth and changes to speed limits along the route.

“We are finalising the feasibility study for this section of the route, and once the outcomes are known and the preferred options costed, we are hoping to deliver the safety improvements within the next three years, subject to funding and prioritisation.”

Mr Roberts added: “In the meantime, we continue to work closely with Devon County Council and our police partners and we are keeping them, the parish councils and other interested parties informed as to progress.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter