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FVLR - January 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter January 2021

For many of us, 2020 probably wasn’t the year that we had expected or hoped for. We sincerely hope that 2021 will be safer and healthier for everyone.

Fortunately, the construction of the Forder Valley Link Road has continued through the Covid-19 restrictions, in line with government guidance for construction sites and adhering to strict working practices to maintain everyone’s safety.

We wanted to share some of our success stories since we started the main construction on site a year ago. For those of you who live near or travel through the area you will see the rapid changes that have taken place.

A look back at what happened on site in 2020

January - March

  • landscaping commenced with the planting of some of the 14,500 trees planned. Hedgerows, grasslands and woodlands will be created to better local wildlife habitats and achieve a ‘positive gain for biodiversity’
  • we completed constructing the access road to the site offices and compound
  • the first phase of traffic management went into place, with lane closures on Forder Valley Road and Novorossiysk Road.  Utility diversions and major earthworks commenced
  • members of the Balfour Beatty team talked to 400 St Matthews COE Primary Academy pupils about road safety.

April - June

  • the first of eighty precast concrete sections weighing over twenty-five tonnes each, were lifted into position to build the new 160-metre culvert
  • a major milestone was achieved when the piling commenced for the 140-metre bridge across the Bircham Valley.

July - September

  • the 160-metre culvert was completed with ledges and rocks to mimic a natural riverbed
  • construction of retaining walls continued on Forder Valley Road and Novorossiysk Road
  • the western section of Forder Valley Road was closed for 17 months. The uphill side is due to reopen in Autumn 2021, earlier than first expected
  • the support columns for both bridge abutments and the three piers for the 140-metre bridge, became more visible across the valley.

October - December

  • a safe ‘fish relocation’ took place in the Bircham stream, capturing 116 fish of four species before the stream was diverted through the new culvert and the fish were released back into the stream
  • work started on the Devon hedge, alongside Novorossiysk Road. The hedge will be 632 metres in length and 1.8m high, made from recycled soil from the site and locally sourced shale.

What can you expect to see in 2021?

2021 will be the big year of major developments on the scheme!

Construction of the 140-metre bridge

The new bridge deck, which will carry the three-lane carriageway, footway and cycleway, will be constructed in four sections, with seven beams in each section.

The 32-metre beams, each weighing in at 105 tonnes, will arrive over a number of weeks and stored off-site until they are needed. Delivery of the beams will start in February.

An image of the forder valley link road bridge being constructed, showing the partly completed piers and abutments.

Traffic management – phase 3

Constructing a new road beside live traffic is a challenge and we thank you for your continued patience. Sometimes your journey may be slightly slower or along a different route but keeping the traffic moving and pedestrians and cyclists safe is of key importance. In Spring the traffic is due to be directed on to a temporary surface over the top of the culvert and on to the new Novorossiysk Road surface. This phase will be in place until the western section of Forder Valley Road reopens.

The attenuation and wildlife ponds

Once traffic is moved from the current Novorossiysk Road, work on the two ponds will progress. The wildlife pond will provide further habitat for birds, invertebrates and other reptiles, as well as foraging resource for bats and otters. The attenuation pond helps to manage the water runoff from the new road surface and protect the natural water courses.

Forder Valley Interchange (Leigham Roundabout)

Work to widen and improve Leigham Roundabout and a section of Forder Valley Road is due to start next month. The improvements will include; extra road space and better traffic flow, extending the merge off the roundabout, an extra lane on the approach to the roundabout, wider pedestrian and cycling space, including improvements to the subway.  We will keep you updated on the progress and you can read more here.

In other news

The Council has recently released a pair of beavers into a purpose-built rewilding enclosure as part of its Green Minds initiative. As part of the link road mitigation, the Council’s Green Estate and Street Services teams are carrying out woodland management, including coppicing and tree planting, in the Forder and Bircham valleys. This winter work will provide valuable habitats for nature.

Picture of a Beaver on the waters edge with a fish next to it.


Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 guidelines, we’ve not been able to host some of the community and education events we’d hoped to.  We have continued to keep residents and stakeholders updated through email and if the situation improves this year, we will start to host ‘meet the team’ events and welcome students for educational visits. We make every effort to reduce disturbance to our neighbours and keep them as informed as possible.

Wishing you a healthy New Year!

If you haven’t signed up to our mailing list already and would like to receive scheme updates, please email your name and email address to You can also find more information on the Plymouth City Council Forder Valley webpage or follow Plymouth City Council on Twitter @plymouthcc.