Work has finally started on Bridgwater’s long overdue Southern Relief road which will reduce congestion on the Taunton Road, provide new river crossings and open up land between the River Parrett and Bridgwater and Taunton Canal for brownfield development. The Colley Lane Relief Road is an £18.4 Million project funded by EDF, the DoT, Developers and Somerset County Council and will connect Marsh lane to Parrett Way.
Cllr Leigh Redman , County Councillor for Bridgwater South,one of the areas that the bypass will benefit most, comments “For many years, I have been pressing for this important link road to be started. Somerset County Council have been facing financial pressures that have caused delays but I have continued to keep pressure on officials at County Hall to ensure it stays on the table. The road will crucially help to relieve pressure on Taunton Road, already suffering because of HPC traffic. To hear that finally contractors are on site is great news, I look forward to working with Highways and residents to overcome any issues during the 18 month build, so that we can bring the long overdue bypass into reality.”
Major Infrastructure Project
The leading Contractor is Whitemountain, part of the Lagan Group and the project will include 2 new bridges, 840 metres of carriageway and new cycle and footways. £4m of the funding has come from Somerset County Council. SCC Leader David Fothergill says “The long-awaited Colley Lane scheme will benefit both residents and businesses and help to ease congestion by taking traffic away from Taunton Road and Broadway.”
The £18.4m Colley Lane scheme will be funded by developer contributions from EDF S106 contributions, £9.38m from housing developers S106 contributions, £3m from DfT Productivity Investment Fund and up to £4m from the Somerset County Council capital programme.
Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley, said “We welcome this scheme for sure. It’s long overdue. Finally something is being done to break into the medieval road structure that has restricted Bridgwater’s development. For too long have we seen back land, infill housing schemes crammed into corners of communities and creating extra entrance and exit points onto our main roads which, combined with the increase of heavy lorries for Hinkley, has contributed to all this congestion. For a growing town Bridgwater needs to welcome these major infrastructure projects to ease traffic flow and loosen the stranglehold on our existing communities. In particular I welcome the commitment from the contractor to communicate with residents and businesses, because this is where they’ve got it wrong in the past. I urge people to keep in touch with Mr Harper, who is their dedicated Public Liason Officer and to attend the drop in sessions at the Canalside centre this month. But….it’s not a by-pass, it’s a relief road and the major infrastructure we really needed was a Northern by pass to take the EDF traffic!”
Town Clerk Alan Hurford also welcomed the project saying “About time! Planned and on the drawing board for far too long and much much needed to provide the alternative to Taunton Road – hugely welcomed.”
Bryan Harper, the PLO, has launched a website to keep the public informed. It can be accessed here. He also plans to hold drop in sessions at the Canalside on April 16 & 17th from 3.30 to 6.30pm each day and to bring out a regular newsletter.
The Colley Lane relief road will be completed in 18 months.