Major developer works to install a new bus gate and improve pedestrian facilities in Monkton Heathfield are nearing completion.
The bus gate on Bridgwater Road and improvements to the Milton Hill junction form a key part of the development masterplan for the area and have been funded and delivered by developers Persimmon.
The bus gate will be operational from Monday and any vehicles passing through (except for buses, emergency vehicles and bicycles) could receive a £60 fine.
Bridgwater Road will remain open for access from the north, but all through traffic should use the new A38 Eastern Relief Road which bypasses Monkton Heathfield as they have done while the junction was closed.
The bus gate has been introduced to promote the use of public transport and calm traffic through the village and past the new primary school.
It works in the same way as other bus gates on Mountway Road and Ilminster Road. There is no physical barrier – the gates use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to record the details of vehicles so that fines can be issued.
Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Firstly, my thanks to all involved for completing this important work before the end of the school holidays.
“Secondly, we want to make sure that everyone understands the change in road layout in Monkton Heathfield.
“It is actually very simple – just keep using the A38 Eastern Relief Road as we have all had to do while the bus gate was being built.
“The bus gate is a vital measure to reduce traffic through the village, particularly past the new primary school, and all we need to do is use the new road.
“Anyone choosing to ignore the signs and sneak through risks ending up with a £60 fine – that’s a very high price to pay to save just a few seconds.”
The masterplan for Monkton Heathfield was approved by the Planning Inspector back in 2008 and included a legal agreement for the developers Persimmon and Redrow to improve the road network.
Part of this work included the construction of the Eastern Relief Road – now reclassified as the A38 – which opened in late 2015 to provide a safe bypass around the village.
Persimmon and Redrow also delivered a package of improvements to Bridgwater Road (the old A38) which included a new frontage near the school and local centre, new 20mph zone and traffic calming.
Somerset County Council does not make a profit from bus gates – any money from fines is used to pay for expenses and enforcement with any surplus reinvested in traffic management.