The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has approved £60m in funding for the A361 upgrade, a key road that links Devon with the rest of the UK.

The multi-million-pound road upgrade is set to begin this month.

The scheme is being implemented with a total cost of £67.6m, and the DfT has agreed to cover the majority of the cost with £60m funding.

Led by Devon County Council, the project will focus on the upgrade of the 4.8 mile stretch between South Molton and Barnstaple.

As part of the upgrade, a wider carriageway will be constructed to improve safety, resilience and overtaking opportunities.

In addition, the road capacity will be increased at eight key junctions, and new facilities will be created for pedestrians and cyclists.

DfT anticipates that the project will benefit regional travel, as well as increase cross-country connectivity.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I’m delighted to announce this funding to upgrade a vital gateway between Devon and the rest of the country. These works will boost connections, cut congestion for drivers and improve people’s quality of life.

“It’s a clear indication of our commitment to levelling up and investing in transport infrastructure. Through these works, we’ll improve people’s ability to travel across the southwest while providing thousands with greater access to new homes and new jobs.”

The scheme is part of the government’s plans to enhance transport infrastructure across the country and recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once completed, the project is expected to ease traffic congestion and boost the local economy.

In addition to addressing traffic congestion, the project will reduce journey times, improve connectivity and unlock housing across the region.