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The A30 runs from central London to Land's Endmarker. It was the major (the Great South West Road) but although only some of its 284 miles (457 km) now has trunk road status with the M3 motorway and A303 road making up more of the current preferred route. The A30 makes up part of the main freight and tourism route to South West England, and in many parts it has been dualled and also now bypass many of the old towns through which it originally ran.

Route

A30 - London to Honiton

This section of the A30 passes through many towns and villages, including Stainesmarker, Camberleymarker, Basingstokemarker, Salisburymarker, Shaftesburymarker, Sherbornemarker, Yeovilmarker, Honitonmarker, Bodminmarker and Exetermarker. Through traffic now uses the M3 motorway. It does not have trunk road status except for short sections around Salisburymarker, Shaftsbury and Yeovilmarker.

Between Basingstoke and Honitonmarker the A30 remains, for most of the route, a single carriageway carrying only local traffic.

Honiton to Penzance

This section is a major trunk road as far as Penzancemarker and is a mixture of dual and single carriageway.

From the Chiverton Cross roundabout another substantial dualled section begins, bypassing the Redruthmarker/Cambornemarker area. The A30 returns to single-carriageway west of Camborne and a mid-1980s bypass takes the road around Haylemarker. Between Hayle and Penzancemarker, the A30 returns to the original route and it passes through several villages. Approaching Penzance, the A30 briefly becomes a dual-carriageway once again. Once west of Penzance the A30 becomes much more a rural road running through or past several villages before terminating at Lands Endmarker.

History

The 2.2 mile (3.5 km) long Honiton (£984,000) dual-carriageway byepass opened in early December 1966. Between Honiton and Exetermarker, the A30 is dualled and at Exeter it merges briefly with the M5 motorway.

The Okehampton bypass which opened in the 1980s skirts the northern edge of Dartmoormarker in Devonmarker.

The Haylemarker bypass was built in the mid 1980s.

The section between Honiton and Exeter in East Devonmarker was dualed in 1999 as a dual carriageway giving quicked access to Exeter International Airportmarker. This road was built under the 'Design Build Finance Operate" scheme by the private consortium 'Connect A30', who funded its construction, and who receive a 'shadow toll' from the government for each vehicle that travels along this section of the road.. Archaeological investigations during the work found a Roman cavalry garrison and later settlement at Pomeroy Woodmarker.

There were many protests by environmentalists against the damage caused by the building of this road, and the particular nature of the DBFO scheme, with a long-lasting occupation of sites on the planned route, focused around the village of Fairmile. Swampy became well-known for his part in this protest.

During 2006 one of the main bottlenecks on the road was removed when the Merrymeet roundabout between Okehampton and Exeter near Whiddon Down was replaced with a grade-separated junction and dual carriageway.

Since the Bodminmarker to Indian Queensmarker project was completed the A30 is now virtually entirely dualled between Exeter and the A30/A39 junction at Carland Cross near Truro, apart from a short section across Bodmin Moormarker, near the village of Templemarker.

In late 2007 a new dual carriageway now runs around Goss Moor with the existing road converted to a cycle lane and now avoids the former bottleneck of the iron bridge that caused problems for HGV lorries which often became stuck under the bridge. See below for more details.

Proposed developments

Other proposals

Two other improvements, Templemarker to Higher Carblake and Carland Cross to Chiverton Cross, were planned and would have created a continuous dual carriageway from Exeter to Camborne but these plans were shelved in 2006 as they were not considered a regional priority.

Goss Moor

In Cornwall the A30 previously crossed Goss Moormarker along a single carriageway section of the road between Victoria and Indian Queens. This was a major bottleneck in the county's transport system until 2007. An iron railway bridge is also situated in the middle of this section in which the Par - Newquay branch line crosses. This was built a long time before the road was dualled at both ends, and so can only fit a single carriage way beneath it. Due to its height (14 ft 3 in), many lorries in previous years had crashed into it, blocking the whole road completely.

There were plans to restore the rest of the St Austell - Indian Queens freight line (currently only going as far up as St Dennis), and direct rail traffic that way, but this plan was dropped.The road had been subject to a long-running campaign for expansion. As Goss Moor is a National Nature Reserve it is one of the most highly protected wildlife sites in the UK, and plans for expansion were strongly opposed. In late 2004 a decision was finally reached, and a new dual carriageway now runs around the moor with the existing road converted to a cycle lane. The first four-mile section of the new dual carriageway between Highgate Hill and the new Victoria Interchange opened at midnight on 9/10 May 2007. The former bottleneck of the iron bridge having now been eliminated means that problems with HGV lorries being stuck under the bridge should be a thing of the past. The remaining three-mile stretch of new dual carriageway between Victoria Interchange and Innis Downs roundabout opened on 25 June 2007.

The new dual carriageway means that average travel times along this section of the route have reduced significantly. Several petrol stations along the old route have now closed down, and the former route across Goss Moor is now silent once more. The remains of a Stone Age settlement were discovered along the new route during construction.

References in popular culture

John Betjeman immortalised the A30 in his poem " Meditation on the A30".

Arthur Boyt, star of BBC documentary 'The Man Who Eats Badgers', described the A30 near Bodmin Moor as a good road for finding roadkill "[23581]"

References




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