Delayed safety work on Cornwall’s deadliest road is “needed now”, said Cornwall’s Conservative head of transport this week. Connor Donnithorne was questioned about when National Highways’ promised work on the A38 would happen after the Government announced it would be postponed until 2030 at the earliest.

National Highways had announced a package of measures including speed cameras, improved road and junction layouts, upgraded bus lay-bys, reduced speed limits, improved signage, lighting and traffic signalling.

However, the Department for Transport announced recently that the promised improvement work to the A38, which was due to take place between 2025 and 2030, had now been delayed as it “balances the books”. The work is now planned between 2030 and 2035 which many councillors, residents and businesses in South East Cornwall believe is far too late.

Speaking at a meeting of the full Cornwall Council on Tuesday, Cllr Donnithorne said: “It’s a key strategic route for the south east of the Duchy but [also] for all visitors, residents and businesses travelling on it to other parts of Cornwall. The delivery of the proposed safety measures are a key priority for its local residents, businesses and this council.

“I have written a letter to the managing director of National Highways to discuss this. Obviously the Government announcement recently was that the project was being delayed and the point I have made clearly in my letter, in which I have copied in the local MP Sheryll Murray, is that these safety measures are needed now and we can’t wait until 2030-35 which is the earliest point [suggested by the Government].

“It’s absolutely critical that we get these measures put in place. We need to work with government to unlock that money so the measures can be done for the residents and businesses of South East Cornwall sooner rather than later.”

The A38 runs from the eastern side of Bodmin, through the Glynn Valley to Dobwalls, Liskeard, the Saltash Tunnel and across the Tamar to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and at 292 miles (470km) in length is the longest two-digit A road in England. It is notorious for being one of the most dangerous roads in Cornwall – in fact, it has one of the worst accident records of any A-road in the country.

The decision to delay work was met with an angry response in the area earlier this month, with Kate Ewert, Labour councillor for the Rame peninsula and St Germans, saying: “To now find out that we’re not getting any of the safety measures in the foreseeable future is a massive blow to the residents of South East Cornwall.”

Lib Dem councillor Colin Martin, who represents Lostwithiel and Lanreath and has referred to the road as ‘deadly’, said: “I’m absolutely appalled that the Conservative Government has ruled out funding any safety measures on the A38 until at least 2030. This road has one of the highest accident rates in the county and is in desperate need of critical safety improvements. National Highways are spending £24 billion on road improvements elsewhere, but can’t even find the cash for average speed cameras or a pelican crossing in South East Cornwall.”

Armand Toms, the independent councillor for East Looe, said: “Years and years ago they put millions into dualling the A30 at the top of the county and have just done the same with the current work being done. They’ve done the same for St Austell but they’ve never done that for the A38. It peeves me – I’m as Cornish as the next guy and I see things going on to the north of me, to the west of me, but not around me.

Sheryll Murray said she will carry on “pushing” to get the work done as a matter of urgency.