National Highways’ A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross upgrade aims to leave a lasting legacy for Cornwall by protecting and enhancing the environment and ecology of the area.
The scheme will unlock one of the last major bottlenecks in the county by creating an 8.7-mile section of dual carriageway to help promote economic growth, improve journey times and increase safety.
The new route has also been designed to improve connectivity for wildlife, with a total of 33 multi-species crossing points being constructed, alongside the new junction structures, to enable the journeys of animals such as otters, badgers, bats and reptiles, and to allow them to access a wider area of habitat.
As construction progresses on the dualling scheme, National Highways and principal contractors Costain are predicting an approximate 20% net gain in biodiversity.
Initiatives to protect and improve biodiversity alongside the new route include the creation of eight miles of traditional Cornish hedging, as well as the restoration of existing hedging, and the relocation of reptiles and a section of priority heathland habitat near Carland Cross.
Following initial issues in hedging construction, exacerbated by a spell of severe winter weather, the building and rebuilding work is now well under way, while the heathland, relocated last autumn from one side of the new A30 to the other, is flourishing again with precious flora species providing a vital habitat for invertebrates, birds and bees.
As part of the heathland relocation, species-rich areas of heathland have been excavated and translocated across the road to a new area north of Carland Cross.
To ensure the preservation of native species such as adders, grass snakes, slow worms and common lizards, a team of nationally recognised environment consultants from Truro-based Spalding Associates undertook a painstaking operation to safely gather up the reptiles, before the heathland itself was cut into turfs and transferred across the road to a location close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest at Newlyn Downs.