Major Road Network


The Department for Transport recently 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.

MRNA38 Weston Mill to Camels Head Cattedown Roundabout Embankment Road - Low Bridge Embankment Road - Arnolds Point Flood Protection A38 Marsh Mills

The Government wants to encourage improvements nationally that aim to reduce congestion and the economic impact of traffic delays. As part of its Major Road Network (MRN) programme, 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. The MRN will help facilitate this growth, supporting economic development and housing.

The proposed programme will focus on five locations:

  1. A38 Weston Mill to Camels Head
  2. Cattedown Roundabout
  3. Low Bridge on Embankment Road
  4. Arnold's Point Flood Protection along Embankment Road
  5. A38 Marsh Mills

Other potential improvements outlined in the plan are:

  • New and improved pedestrian / cycle infrastructure including safer crossing points
  • Carriageway reconstruction works

Should all parts of the scheme go ahead, the cost would be in the region of £48 million, with the Government funding around £40m, with the rest met by the council and developer contributions. The work would be carried out in phases over a period of three years, beginning in 2023 to 2026.

It is important to note that we are still at a very early stage of this scheme. No decisions with regard to design have yet been taken so your views on the constraints at the designated locations will be key.

Cabinet Member for Transport and Strategic Infrastructure Mark Coker said: “These are well known local hot spots where congestion is only likely to get worse as the city grows.  This project could give us the chance to keep these economically important roads resilient, reliable and effective in the future and support both the local and national economy.

“We have all got caught in jams at some point and we believe these interventions will not only keep the traffic flowing, they will make our roads safer for everyone including cyclists and pedestrians, and no doubt help reduce people’s blood pressure.

“These are still early plans and we have identified these sites as areas where we believe changes could really make a difference - but we are keen to get residents and businesses’ input on the plans and would urge people to respond to the consultation with their views.”


Motorists, neighbouring residents, public transport users, disabled users,  pedestrians and cyclists were all invited to participate so that a full spectrum of users of the MRN had a chance to provide a view.

The consultation on potential improvements to the Major Road Network started at 9am 24 February 2021 and closed at 5pm 24 March 2021. With COVID-19 preventing events and face-to-face discussions, the initial consultation survey was carried out online only. 

The findings will be published on this website in the spring 2022.