DRIVING for the first time along Kingskerswell bypass is a surreal experience.
Hidden away from most people's view, giant cuttings, massive earth mounds and high tech bridges have been carved into the countryside between Penn Inn and Hamelin Way.
But though it is only mud, and the other vehicles using the route are for the main giant diggers and machinery, you can get a real impression of what it is going to be like to drive along the new dual carriageway.
The baking summer of 2014 has helped the builders of the long-awaited Kingskerswell bypass.
The long dry days helped make up for the mud bath which was the rain sodden winter of 2013 — a mudbath which has returned thanks to the recent downpours.
One of the most remarkable facts about this road, and there are plenty of those, is that most of the materials used have come from on site.
Devon County Council and contractors Galliford Try have managed to avoid sending any material excavated or uncovered to landfill.
Instead a processing plant has been brought in which means, for example, all the stone used in the new walls lining the road in places and the culverts has come from on site, principally near Maddacombe Lane.
Material such as old road surface is graded, pulverised if necessary, and used as fill for the massive earthworks which have built the ground level up some seven to eight metres in some areas, particularly at the Aller and Edginswell ends.
In other areas, such as Maddacombe behind Kingskerswell there have been massive earth removals.
Another amazing fact is the amount of high tech engineering techniques involved, including using satellite plotting of GPS points to ensure the road levels and alignment are correct throughout its 5.5k length.
Around 200 to 250 people are working on site at any one time, and the project is a series of different sites, including building the overpass at Penn Inn, realigning the road between Penn Inn and Aller, building a 400 metre bridge/tunnel over the main line railway so the new road passes over it, a deep, deep cutting behind Kingskerswell and the huge earth mound being built so the road reaches up to the Hamelin Way junction.
Galliford Try is close to reaching a major milestone with between 80 per cent and 85 per cent of the groundworks completed.
Attention is switching to the infrastructure of the road, such as drainage, culverts, a bat underpass at the Edginswell end, bridges such as over Maddacombe Road where giant concrete beams were lowered into place to create the bridge parallel with the road. Once work is completed on that bridge traffic will be moved on to it, and the rest of the rock and earth propping up the old road will be removed.
At Yon Street the process has been different, with the road diverted and earth moved away to create the bypass route.
Massive supporting structures are already installed and a new bridge is to be built reconnecting Yon Street at a later date.
At Aller a new bridge has been installed ready to take the dual carriageway with slipways being created from two new roundabouts on either side linking in with the Decoy road and the road to Aller and Kingskerswell.
The sheer scale of the project is certainly impressive, and looking from the Edginswell direction you can see how the road is opening up new views out to Dartmoor.
However with new false cuttings built up along long lengths of the road, motorists are unlikely to see much of Kingskerswell — and hopefully Kingskerswell residents will hear less of the passing traffic thanks to the earth mounds.
The project is still on schedule for completion in December, 2015.