'Dangerous' road closure criticised
PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 May 2014
A BUSY road through a North Somerset village will be closed for three weeks, leading people to voice fears it will cause 'dangerous' pile-ups.
Traffic will be diverted through neighbouring Winscombe after Bristol water shuts off a 357-metre stretch of Banwell’s Castle Hill on June 16.
However, this coincides with the popular Winscombe and Sandford village festival, starting on June 21 - and residents say the proposed diversion will lead to chaos along the already-congested route.
Winscombe and Sandford parish councillor Cresten Boase said: “I am not looking forward to the thought of potential bottlenecks which could create a series of back-ups.
“Ambulances and normal healthcare providers for the elderly could be disrupted.
“It will be a very trying time for all those living on the alternative route.”
Bristol Water is closing the road, from The Square to Dark Lane, to replace a four-inch cast iron water main.
This pipe has burst a number of times in the past few years, causing the water supply to be cut off.
Two other utility companies will be carrying out work during the same closure, as Wales and West Gas and BT are carrying out repairs.
Mrs Boase said: “As a resident of Sandford, I would have hoped it would have come through our own parish council that there was this alternative route being suggested.
“The highways team feel people won’t use Dark Lane, but people who know the area will and it will have a considerable knock-on affect and could double the traffic in Station Road.
“It is regrettable but also potentially very dangerous, as people will park in Station Road and cause disruption.
“The village fete is very important for community spirit and goodwill, and needs to be made to work with modern life. We rely on the authorities to help reconcile the two.
“A certain amount of awareness and people pulling together is called for.”
Traffic will be diverted back on to Bristol Road then on to Greenhill Road, Towerhead Road and East Street.
Temporary traffic lights will be installed as well as diversion signs, but access for residents and emergency services will be maintained.
A Bristol Water spokesman said: “We apologise in advance for any short-term inconvenience this essential work may cause - however, this will be outweighed by the long-term benefits.
“We understand there is never a good time to undertake this type of work, however this is an important project which will help ensure our customers continue to receive a high quality water supply.
“We will try to minimise disruption for householders, businesses and commuters.”