A39 Atlantic Highway – Camelford Improvement

March 2020 – Scheme Background
The A39 has been identified as part of the DfT designated MRN which provides potential funding for schemes in period 2020 – 2025. DfT’s guidance suggests Government funding for MRN interventions will normally be between £20 million and £50 million, with 15% Local contribution from promoters.
The A39 Atlantic Highway improvement (Camelford bypass) scheme was identified as a MRN priority scheme in the Regional Evidence Base (REB) work undertaken by the Peninsula Sub National Transport Body (STB) last summer. Subsequently a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) was submitted to the DfT in 2019.
At their meeting 24 July 2019 (link here) Cabinet supported the submission of the SOBC and committed in principle to provide a 15% local contribution in line with DfT requirements
The current traffic problems and associated issues in Camelford area and the objectives of the scheme are detailed in the Cabinet report and summarised in the graphic appended.
Recent progress and way forward Programme
A series of public consultations were held in January and February 2020 showing the route of the proposed road. There were 585 attendees and the feedback (by 9th March) shows 79.2% support with 15.7% against and 5.1% did not give a response. The consultation period ends on the 16th April 2020. The scheme is fully supported by Camelford Town Council and is included within the draft Neighbourhood Plan as their key objective for transportation.
The next step on the scheme is to develop the preliminary design leading to the submission in the autumn of the OBC to the DfT. The work for the OBC will include a review of the feedback given by residents in the recent consultation with an improved design will try to accommodate the wishes of the residents wherever possible. The traffic modelling used for the SOBC will need to be updated to produce a more robust traffic model to ascertain potential traffic reassignment and journey time benefits of the scheme. A series of technical and environmental surveys will also need to be carried out along the route. All of this work will allow a better determination of the likely construction costs alongside a more robust traffic model that will feed into the economic model justifying the scheme. A further review will be needed of local development and likely business investment that may follow the opening of the bypass.
Approval of the OBC means the scheme would have achieved ‘Programme Entry’ with DfT essentially agreeing in-principle to fund delivery of the road. This decision is likely to be made towards the end of this year or early in 2021. This will be followed by preparation of the Final Business Case that will include all statutory approvals including obtaining Planning consent and securing the required land.
Briefing Note
Information Classification: CONTROLLED
The key tasks, milestones and risks going forward are summarised in the tables below:
A39 Camelford tasks and indicative Timescales 1 OBC Preparatory work – Appraisal Specification report (ASR) – Environmental Scoping – Traffic surveys – June and August 2019 – Design review and cost estimate update March till August 2019 2 Submission of Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) July 2019 GATEWAY SOBC considered by Sub regional Transport Body (STB) for ‘Support in principle’ Summer 2019 3 Public and stakeholder engagement to confirm the preferred route Jan/feb 2020 Gateway Funding for the OBC stage announced by DfT March 2020
Preliminary design and development
Spring/ summer 2020
Submission of Outline Business Case (OBC) (for subsequent milestones assume 3 months from OBC to programme entry decision)
Sept 2020 Gateway Approval in principle by DfT to fund construction Dec 2020
Planning application and statutory processes
Spring 2021
Land negotiation and CPO development
Spring/ summer 2021
Detailed Design and tender
Spring/ summer 2021
Full Business Case submitted to DfT*
end 2021
Start of Construction
(assume 3 months from FBC to funding commitment)
Spring/ summer 2022
Scheme open to public
End 2023
*Assuming Planning, land and statutory process complete with scheme tender price required
The cost of developing the scheme to OBC stage was estimated at £808k. An announcement in the budget on the 11th March 2020 confirmed that the Government will provide £540k to Cornwall Council to develop the OBC for the scheme. This is lower than the 85% level of funding sought (£671K) from DfT by the Council in the SOBC submission. The Council is currently investigating how to make up the shortfall to progress the OBC and implications this will have for programme delivery of the scheme.
Prepared by:
Name: Douglas Boden
Job title: Major Transport Scheme Principal Officer, Transport and Infrastructure
Date: 18/03/2020