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Major Road Network

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In 2018 the Department for Transport designated the A38 Marsh Mills to the A38 Weston Mill route as part of its national Major Roads Network (MRN), thereby recognising the strategic importance of this route to the country’s economy. This increases the importance and priority of this route as a primary alternative to the A38.


The Government wants to encourage improvements to the MRN. Plymouth City Council is proposing a number of schemes to improve the route in the city that runs from the A38 Marsh Mills Roundabout to the A38 Weston Mill junction.

The planned works - if they get the go-ahead and funding from the Department for Transport - would mean an almost £50m investment in Plymouth’s transport infrastructure with the aim of reducing congestion and accidents, as well as helping people travel more sustainably by bus, cycle and by foot supporting active travel in line with the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The population of the city is expected to grow to more than 300,000 by 2034 with an expected 19,000 new homes and 16,000 new jobs. Improving the MRN will help facilitate this growth.

The proposed programme will focus on five locations:

  1. A38 Weston Mill to Camels Head
  2. Low Bridge on Embankment Road
  3. Blagdon’s Meadow Cycle-Pedestrian Path
  4. Arnold's Point Flood Protection along Embankment Road
  5. A38 Marsh Mills

Other potential improvements outlined in the plan are:

  • Improved high quality segregated pedestrian and cycleway along the A3064 St. Budeaux Bypass between Camel’s Head and the A38 Weston Mill
  • Improved high quality segregated pedestrian and cycleway along Embankment Road through Blagdon’s Meadow and a new cycle ramp, to improve links to the existing cycle network near Gdynia Way
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle facilities and crossing points at the Marsh Mills, Camels Head and Ferndale Road/Carlton Terrace junctions
  • Carriageway reconstruction works of targeted sections of the MRN

Following further development work to the MRN business case, in light of rising costs and in consultation with the DfT and National Highways, the A38 Weston Mill junction and Cattedown Roundabout elements of the scheme no longer form part of the proposals.

Should all parts of the scheme go ahead, the cost would be in the region of £50 million, with the DfT funding around £42m, with the rest met by the Council and developer contributions. Construction would be carried out in phases over a period of two years, from 2024 to 2025.

It is important to note that we are still at an early stage for this scheme with no guarantee that funding will be secured from the DfT.

Scheme Development

Since the Government approved our Strategic Outline Business Case for the proposed improvements to the MRN in September 2019, we have submitted an Outline Business case and are awaiting approval from the Department for Transport (DfT) in order to secure the next stage of funding.


A consultation was carried out between 24 February 2021 and 24 March 2021. Approximately 9,500 letters were sent to residents and local businesses inviting them to take part in the consultation. Major stakeholders were contacted and a newsletter was sent to 8,010 previous Joint Local Plan consultees. A press release was issued and a story run in the local media. Plymouth City Council’s social media channels were also utilised to inform residents of the consultation. Due to the pandemic Plymouth City Council were unable to hold face to face events and the consultation was hosted online.