Council’s 47-mile diversion to avoid roadworks ‘seems ridiculous’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 May 2012


DRIVERS who want to make their way through Highbridge this week could face a 47-mile diversion because of roadworks.

The diversion was put in place because of resurfacing works which are being carried out on a short stretch of road in Church Street.

The road will be closed in the evenings until Monday and the official diversion route advised by Somerset County Council could see motorists facing a detour taking up to two hours.

Drivers approaching Highbridge from the south will see road closure signs which will advise them to turn around and go back along the A38 to Pawlett. They will then have to travel along the A39 to Glastonbury and Wells and drive towards Axbridge along the A371.

Motorists will then drive to Rodney Stoke, before taking the A38 at East Brent to travel southbound back to Highbridge.

Burnham and Highbridge town clerk Eileen Shaw said there are shorter local routes which can be taken, although they are unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles.

Tina Gray, member of the Highbridge Residents’ Association, said the matter has been blown out of proportion.

She said: “This diversion has not been explained properly by Somerset County Council, to state it is aimed at lorries.

“There are a lot of new residents that do not know there are shorter routes, which would only take 10 minutes. The council could have handled it a little better and they have made themselves a bit of a laughing stock by not explaining it.

“I know a few people who have taken the 47-mile diversion as gospel. It’s all a bit silly.”

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “It does seem ridiculous that legally the council has to put this lengthy diversion in place. In reality we all know that locals will find alternative short routes and lorry drivers will use a sat nav and use the motorway.

“We have put automated signs up to direct local traffic through the industrial estate and heavier vehicles to the motorway.

“It will only affect a few as the work is during the night and for eight days only. The result will be a better road for locals and visiting traffic.”

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