Transport Minister to open Junction 29 on the M5

 A SCHEME which has made vital road improvements to Junction 29 of the M5 sees its official opening on Tuesday ( 8 January).  

Transport Minister Norman Baker is the guest of honour and will be carrying out the opening duties before being taken on a brief tour of the new £3 million Energy Centre at Skypark.  

The £10.95 million project to upgrade the junction, which began in May 2011, has created a link road to the old A30 at Blackhorse which includes new junctions to the Exeter Science Park development.  

It has been led by Devon County Council in partnership with Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council and the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Team and in co-ordination with the Highways Agency.  

The Junction 29 improvement is part of a package of highway, public transport and cycling measures that will open the Exeter and East Devon Growth point which includes not only the Exeter Science Park, but also the intermodal freight facility, Skypark business development and the new community at Cranbrook.

Together, these projects are seeing the potential of this district as a major growth area fast being realised.   Important milestone   The junction complements the successful installation of Redhayes Bridge over the M5 which was also opened by the Minister last July.

Funding was made available through the Department for Transport last year following the Comprehensive Spending Review and a subsequent final funding bid by Devon County Council.  

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said: "I'm really pleased to be welcoming the Minister again to the opening of another important milestone towards the development of the Growth Point. This forms part of a vital piece of infrastructure which sees improvements for Junction 29 and also the construction of a new link road to the old A30 at Blackhorse which includes junctions into the new Exeter Science Park development".  

Councillor Will Mumford, Chairman of the Growth Point Board and Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: "The completion of these works opens up access to the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point and is one of the many projects being delivered as a result of the public and private sector Growth Point Partnership. It forms part of the transport package for the Growth Point that will ensure that the transport system supports strategic development which will drive economic growth and prosperity in Devon. The scheme provides access to the new community of Cranbrook and to Skypark which has the potential to provide up to 500 jobs. A further 3,500 jobs are also expected at the Exeter Science Park".  

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: "I am delighted to see this junction fully open. From day one this scheme has been a critical ingredient in the development of the west end of East Devon; we fought hard along with our partners to get the funding for this junction because it will enable all the developments of Skypark, Cranbrook, and Science Park to be able to reach their full capacity and for us to fulfil our aspirations to deliver jobs and homes together in the most sustainable manner".  

Ready to start   Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St. Modwen, the joint venture partner of Devon County Council on the £270 million Skypark development, commented: "The completion of the bypass works is the final part of the raft of infrastructure improvements already delivered for Skypark.  The first entrance was also recently completed so occupiers can clearly see all the roads are now in place and that we are ready to start the development. "With the Energy Centre at Skypark set to be fully operational from spring next year, this will provide businesses with a unique opportunity to operate within a high quality business environment in the South West".  

Ben Pyle, Managing Director of South West Highways Ltd, said: "We are delighted to have delivered this project, along with the infrastructure for the adjacent Science Park. The two schemes represent a tremendous investment of great importance to the future prosperity of our local area. A particular success has been to deliver such a challenging and complex project with the minimal possible disruption to the travelling public and credit must go to all those who have helped to ensure this."  

The design and supervision was carried out by Parsons Brinkerhoff and the work completed by Exeter based South West Highways.