Somerset Council is taking a new approach to tackling congestion issues at a busy intersection in Bridgwater.
The Council has reviewed plans to deliver a major infrastructure project at the A38/39 roundabout near the Cross Rifles pub and Sainsburys and made a decision to replace it with a new proposal addressing the transport needs of the town without requiring significant disruption for residents and road users.
Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, Councillor Richard Wilkins said: “We needed a major rethink on this proposal, which has been around for some years. Quite simply, it is no longer viable, and it would not be responsible in the current climate to continue to pursue this scheme. Nor does it make environmental or logistical sense in 2024.
“What was perhaps appropriate in terms of planning 10 years ago no longer applies to now and would be extremely challenging to deliver, with significant disruption – potentially up a year for the community and road users.
“The scheme requires CPOs which are notoriously costly, drawn-out and unpredictable in terms of success. Further, having recently declared a financial emergency we are not in a position to countenance unpredictable CPO costs along with the ongoing spiralling inflation costs which are hitting the construction industry.
“Now more than ever we have a duty to protect and conserve council funds – although this project did receive external funding, this would not adequately cover all the additional costs.”
The Council will be delivering safety improvements at the junction, including new signalised crossings, as well as additional active travel improvements.
Somerset Council has about £10 million in Levelling Up funds from Government for the whole A38 corridor which includes both this junction and the Dunball junction near Junction 23 of the M5. The decision enables the Council to now focus more of this funding on the Dunball scheme which has the most urgent capacity and safety issues.