Devon County Council has prepared and approved a full business case for the £93m North Devon Link Road improvements, which will be submitted to the Department for Transport next month.
Councillors backed the scheme last week, as well as approving the design of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Landkey and the start of site clearance on the scheme later this year.
Planning permission has been granted for the new segregated pedestrian/cycle crossings of the road at Bishops Tawton and Landkey Junction.
The North Devon Link Road serves as a gateway to northern Devon and northern Cornwall, connecting the regions to the rest of Devon and the UK via the M5.
The improvement scheme involves a combination of junction and link improvements between South Molton and Barnstaple.
Advance planting along the 10km length of the scheme between Filleigh and Portmore has already been completed.
The contract for all of the widening and junction improvements between South Molton and Portmore is expected to be awarded this autumn. The contracts for the other junction improvements will be awarded separately.
Cllr Andrea Davis, Devon County Council cabinet member for infrastructure, development and waste, said: 'No doubt everyone will feel reassured that this important project has not been hindered or delayed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
'The county council remains committed to meeting its deadlines on this project in order to submit the full business case next month, and this approval from Cabinet clears the way for that. A number of surveys still need to be carried out prior to the start of work but we remain confident of getting this scheme underway as soon as we possibly can.'
The scheme also involves planting over 20,000 trees and bushes to establish ecological habitats before the start of construction work and further replacement of trees and bushes which will be removed.
Devon County Council is working with the Department for Transport to finalise the Government’s approval process and, subject to funding, start to advance construction later this year. It’s anticipated that the main work will start by next summer.