Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has cut the first turf for the improvements to the A30 from Temple to Higher Carblake, heralding the start of preliminary works on dualling one of Cornwall’s most notorious bottlenecks.

The work will replace the existing 5km stretch of road with a dual carriageway.

The Minister was joined by representatives from Cornwall Council, the Highways Agency, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, contractors Kier and local residents.

Following the granting of the Development Consent Order last month, there was a six week period in which the decision could have been challenged in the High Court. As this period has now ended, preparatory works, including vegetation clearance and the issuing of compulsory purchase orders can begin at the site.

The minister also took the opportunity to learn more about the potential improvements further west during his visit, as three public engagement events are planned to find out views from road users and residents on the potential to build a dual carriageway on the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross.

Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport said: “The setting of this road is at one of Cornwall's finest environmental assets - Bodmin Moor - and the scheme needs to blend high quality engineering with a minimal impact - it is a positive challenge which the design and delivery teams will, I am sure, meet with distinction.”

Mick Martin, chairman of the Temple to Bodmin A30 Action Group, said: “The road improvement at Temple is fantastic news for the local community, the whole of Cornwall and our many visitors.  Today I am proud to report that as a result of our dogged determination we have achieved the goal we set ourselves seven years ago.”

Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said; “We are delighted that work is getting underway on the A30 at Temple because this stretch of road is used by almost 40 per cent of Cornish businesses at least once a month. Road congestion costs time and money which is why dualling the A30 remains one of the top priorities for our business community and the LEP.”

The next section of single carriageway between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross could be completed by 2021.