A30 road

A30 road

UK road routebox
road= A30
length-mi= 284
length-km= 457
direction= East-West
start= London
destinations= Honiton
end= Lands End
junctions= ukroadsmall|303
The A30 is an old trunk road (main road) which runs from central London to Land's End, the westernmost point of the mainland of southern Great Britain (though not of mainland Great Britain as a whole), and is sometimes called the Great South West Road. At 284 miles (457 km) long, it is the third longest 'A' road in the United Kingdom, behind the A1 and A38. 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 bypasses many of the old towns through which it originally ran.

The A30 runs through many towns and villages, including Staines, Camberley, Basingstoke, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Yeovil, Honiton, Bodmin and Exeter. Between west London and Basingstoke the A30 has been replaced by the M3 motorway, and the road is no longer trunked here. Between Basingstoke and Honiton the A303 runs parallel to the A30 between five and ten miles to the north, and since 1946 the A303 has been the trunk road and taken the bulk of traffic. The A303 is being upgraded to make it continuous dual carriageway east of Ilminster. West of Ilminster the A358 will be upgraded to the M5 motorway at Taunton. Between Basingstoke and Honiton the A30 remains, for most of the route, a single carriageway carrying only local traffic.

Between Honiton and Exeter, the A30 is dualled. At Exeter the A30 merges with the M5 motorway, which terminates a few miles west splitting into the A38 and A30 westbound. Now the Bodmin to Indian Queens project has been completed, the A30 is virtually entirely dualled between Exeter and the A30/A39 junction at Carland Cross near Truro, apart from a short section across Bodmin Moor. Continuing west, the A30 returns to single-carriageway until one meets the Chiverton Cross roundabout. From here, another substantial dualled section begins, bypassing the Redruth/Camborne area. The A30 returns to single-carriageway west of Camborne and a mid-1980s bypass takes the road around Hayle. Between Hayle and Penzance, the A30 returns to the original route and it passes through several villages. Approaching Penzance, the A30 briefly becomes a dual-carriageway once again, until the 1980s built bypass. Once west of Penzance the A30 becomes much more a rural road running through or past several villages before terminating at Lands End.

Protests by environmentalists

Opened in August 1999 is a new dual carriageway link between Honiton and Exeter in East Devon, giving ready access to Exeter International Airport. 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. [ [http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/3505.aspx Highways Agency - A30 Exeter to Bere Regis ] ] . 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.


A major new portion (from the 1980s onwards) bypasses Okehampton and skirts the northern edge of Dartmoor in Devon, thence into Cornwall via the gateway town of Launceston and then on into Cornwall via Bodmin Moor. During 2006 one of the main bottlenecks on the road was removed when the roundabout at Merrymeet between Okehampton and Exeter was replaced with a grade-separated junction and dual carriageway. [ [http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/11937.aspx Highways Agency - A30 Merrymeet Junction ] ] The new section of road was opened on Thursday 21 December 2006, several months ahead of schedule. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6201997.stm BBC NEWS | England | Devon | Road opens with months to spare ] ]

Goss Moor

In Cornwall the A30 previously crossed Goss Moor along a single carriageway section of the road between Victoria and Indian Queens. This has been a major bottleneck in the county's transport system. 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, 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.

It has been subject to a long running campaign for expansion. As Goss Moor is a National Nature Reserve [ [http://www.english-nature.org.uk/special/nnr/nnr_details.asp?NNR_ID=69 Natural England - Special Sites ] ] it is one of the most highly protected wildlife sites in the UK, and plans for expansion were strongly opposed. [ [http://www.foecornwall.org/goss-moor.html Transport campaign group | A30 Goss Moor briefing | Foe cornwall ] ] 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/4052133.stm BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Moor dualling plans get go-ahead ] ] 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 are 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/4219956.stm BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Stone age discovery in roadworks ] ]

Two other improvements, Temple 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5155828.stm BBC NEWS | England | Winners and losers in roads plan ] ]

References in popular culture

John Betjeman immortalised the A30 in his poem " [http://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/John_Betjeman/16972 Meditation on the A30] ".


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