A NEW £90,000 scheme to improve safety in a narrow West Devon lane used as a short cut by commuters and heavy goods lorries is due to start on Monday.

Meavy Lane in Yelverton has previously been dubbed a ?rat-run? by residents because of the amount of traffic using the lane to get to the A38 at Ivybridge and the china clay works at Lee Moor.

The new scheme will introduce a series of flat-top road humps and a speed ?table? ? a 22-metre long extended hump ? outside the entrance to a new development at Willowby House, aimed at slowing down traffic.

A 20mph speed limit will apply along Meavy Lane from its junction with the main A386 Tavistock to Plymouth Road to the site of the old railway bridge south east of Gratton Cross.

A new footway will be constructed along the north east side of Meavy Lane between the main shopping area at Yelverton Forecourt and Yelverton Terrace. A further section of footway will be built by Elford Park to help pedestrians, reduce traffic speed and significantly improve safety for drivers leaving Elford Park.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: ?A continuous footway along the full length of the road was considered environmentally unacceptable, as it would require widening the highway, but a ?virtual footway? comprising road markings will be provided for pedestrian use elsewhere along the route.?

He said there would be some loss of parking along Meavy Lane as a result of the calming measures, but parking spaces would be more clearly marked. The road is also being resurfaced.

Cllr Margaret Garton, West Devon ward member for Buckland Monachorum, said: ?I am very pleased that, at long last, work is starting on this scheme. I?m also pleased that the residents have been involved in the planning and that the various bodies have worked together to provide what we hope will be a satisfactory solution.?

Contractors South West Highways Ltd will be working extended hours and Sundays to try and reduce disruption during construction.

Heavy goods vehicles above 18 tonnes will be prohibited from using Meavy Lane and Gratton Lane between the A386 and Cadover Bridge for four weeks from March 10 ? a diversion will be in operation via Plympton.

All other vehicles will be prohibited from using Meavy Lane and Gratton lane between the A386 and Callisham Cross for two weeks from March 24. The diversion for light vehicles will be via Clearbrook and Hoo Meavy.

The scheme is being carried out in partnership with private developers, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Devon County Council.

Several public exhibitions looking into the problem of heavy traffic in the lane have already been held ? a previous scheme was rejected by DNPA as being ?too urban?.