Staplegrove gas works cause traffic chaos on the A358 and at Silk Mills

This is The West Country: Staplegrove gas works cause traffic chaos on the A358 and at Silk Mills Staplegrove gas works cause traffic chaos on the A358 and at Silk Mills

COMMUTERS faced traffic chaos getting into Taunton this week... and delays are likely to continue.

Gas mains repair works on the Silk Mills roundabout near Staplegrove caused long tailbacks by the Cross Keys pub and on the A358 towards Bishops Lydeard.

Some motorists reported journey times of up to 90 minutes longer at peak times due to the temporary traffic lights in operation during Wales and West Utilities' works.

Independent county councillor Mike Rigby, who covers the Lydeard division, said the tailbacks seemed particularly bad out towards the 40 Commando base.

He said: “The traffic lights set up was not allowing traffic to flow from the Bishops Lydeard and Minehead direction as people were giving way to traffic on the right of the roundabout at Cross Keys, and therefore were not moving anywhere.

“We all accept that the work has to take place but traffic management is really important and it seems they have not paid enough attention to that.”

Other frustrated motorists claimed seeing a highways sign claiming work would be taking place from Monday to Sunday (February 17 to 23) this week.

However, diggers and traffic lights were reportedly spotted in operation on Saturday, two days earlier than expected, and caught people off guard.

One Staplegrove resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “It has been a nightmare so I've been walking where possible.

“The lights were there on Saturday when I thought work was not going to start until Monday. You'd think these people would communicate with each other.”

A spokesman for Wales and West Utilities said: “We planned that most of this vital work would take place during the half-term school holiday to minimise disruption to road traffic.

“We regret that the early start caused inconvenience to road users on Saturday and that road signage did not indicate the correct start date.

“We are looking into the circumstances of this and will be discussing it with the local authority. We aim to complete the work as swiftly as possible to minimise any inconvenience to road users.”

Somerset County Council has apologised for the confusion and added: "Gas mains replacement works by Wales and West Utilities were due to begin on Monday, timed for the half-term holiday when roads are quieter.

"However, the contractors started work early over the weekend and we are investigating why this happened.

"We have now arranged for a one-way system to be introduced and have delayed work until after 9.30am to miss the morning rush hour." 

Comments (5)

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12:29pm Wed 19 Feb 14

cliverita says...

Half term might be a quiet time for some people, but it is a busy holiday visitors time for West Somerset, and in particular, traffic delays can cause travellers on the West Somerset Railway to miss their train. The Railway is open all this week and every weekend thereafter. Authorities please note !
Half term might be a quiet time for some people, but it is a busy holiday visitors time for West Somerset, and in particular, traffic delays can cause travellers on the West Somerset Railway to miss their train. The Railway is open all this week and every weekend thereafter. Authorities please note ! cliverita

1:35pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Mi_Coc says...

Wales and West Utilities have failed to control works or their sub contractor who started works two ahead of signage and in breach of TTRO.

I live in norton and it was chaos on sat!
Wales and West Utilities have failed to control works or their sub contractor who started works two ahead of signage and in breach of TTRO. I live in norton and it was chaos on sat! Mi_Coc

3:44pm Wed 19 Feb 14

confusedconfucious says...

they also need to look in the town. No sign-age on Priory Bridge Road to say the right turn is closed ahead, when you spot the signs you are already in a position you cannot recover from. The only way is into the station and back out. 2 hours from Priory Bridge to Silk Mills roundabout ...
they also need to look in the town. No sign-age on Priory Bridge Road to say the right turn is closed ahead, when you spot the signs you are already in a position you cannot recover from. The only way is into the station and back out. 2 hours from Priory Bridge to Silk Mills roundabout ... confusedconfucious

8:08pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Lulu2011 says...

The comment that they did it at half term to prevent unnecessary disruption is laughable. There must have been hundreds of people travelling in on the A358 on Monday morning that were late for work. My daughter left 40 minutes early to get to work in Saplegrove Road, by 9:00am but was still ten minutes late, a 25 minute journey took an hour and 10 minutes. It is not fair for people to be treated like this. The traffic coming into Taunton from West Somerset didn't stand a chance. There should have been some traffic control at the Cross Keys roundabout to allow some flow at least from the 358. It is just another example of big companies not giving a **** about ordinary people - Highways should not allow this sort of thing to happen!
The comment that they did it at half term to prevent unnecessary disruption is laughable. There must have been hundreds of people travelling in on the A358 on Monday morning that were late for work. My daughter left 40 minutes early to get to work in Saplegrove Road, by 9:00am but was still ten minutes late, a 25 minute journey took an hour and 10 minutes. It is not fair for people to be treated like this. The traffic coming into Taunton from West Somerset didn't stand a chance. There should have been some traffic control at the Cross Keys roundabout to allow some flow at least from the 358. It is just another example of big companies not giving a **** about ordinary people - Highways should not allow this sort of thing to happen! Lulu2011

8:12am Thu 20 Feb 14

TauntonBloke29 says...

Its a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our town. How can a London style gridlock be created on a whim. Why do they get away with it? How can it be allowed to happen?
Its a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our town. How can a London style gridlock be created on a whim. Why do they get away with it? How can it be allowed to happen? TauntonBloke29

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