A major road improvement scheme to upgrade the busy Toneway Creech Castle junction in Taunton will start next month.
Somerset County Council has developed a design to reduce congestion and improve access to Taunton by increasing the capacity of the junction. The upgrade includes significantly enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and is critical to allow planned development at Monkton Heathfield to go ahead.
The scheme will be delivered by Alun Griffiths Ltd, who were awarded the contract following a competitive tendering process.
Works are expected to take 12 months and will begin on Tuesday 14 April, after the Easter weekend, with the project running alongside the M5 Junction 25 scheme which is already under construction.
The Creech Castle scheme includes road widening and requires significant construction activities with heavy machinery and excavations in the carriageway. Therefore, in order to keep both the workforce and travelling public safe, it will be necessary to close Bridgwater Road north to vehicles for the duration of the scheme. Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be unaffected.
Other alternatives were considered – including use of temporary multi-way traffic lights instead of a road closure – but these were projected to cause much more severe disruption with long queues on the Toneway potentially impacting on the M5.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The Creech Castle junction is a major pinchpoint and these improvements will be very welcome indeed, particularly as the area continues to grow.
“Delivery of this scheme will be challenging, particularly with works at Junction 25 already underway, but it is better to run the two schemes concurrently to minimise the overall period of disruption.
“I’m sure people will have questions, so please visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk/Toneway for more information or come to one of our public drop-in events to see the plans and talk to one of our team.”
Simon Dunn, Operations Director for Alun Griffiths, said: “We are proud to be continuing our partnership with Somerset County Council following the award of the Toneway Creech Castle junction improvement scheme.
“We look forward to building on our experiences of our Junction 25 project to ensure minimal disruption during the delivery of this complex project.
“We look forward to meeting local residents and road users at our upcoming drop-in sessions to explain more about our plans.”
The first public drop-in event will take place at Brittons Ash Community Hall in West Monkton on Wednesday 18 March from 3pm to 8pm. Details of a second drop-in event are being confirmed and will be publicised shortly.
The Toneway Creech Castle scheme upgrade is expected to cost around £8.3m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Somerset County Council and developer contributions.
To find out more about the scheme, including viewing the plans and frequently asked questions, visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk/Toneway. You can also follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter.