MOTORISTS fear “confusing” changes to the layout of a busy Bridgwater town centre road junction could lead to an accident.

Drivers heading along Penel Orlieu towards the Broadway/North Street junction and planning to cross over the road into West Street must now move into the right hand lane at Penel Orlieu.

However, the Mercury has heard many reports that drivers are still getting in the left hand lane from habit and then trying to move across – which has led to several near misses.

Sedgemoor district councillor Brian Smedley said he has passed on concerns from motorists to Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways.

He added: “There are people who are unhappy about these changes as the issue is some people are working to the old system when you should have been in the left lane to go to West Street from Penel Orlieu while other drivers are observing the new rules.

“It is confusing for some people and it is taking a while to get used to.”

The county council says the new layout has been designed to increase capacity at the junction to help prevent tailbacks.

One reader who got in touch with the Mercury said they had observed the junction and counted 11 near misses in the space of 20 minutes.

Although new white road markings have been painted so people use the correct lane for turning, drivers are saying these are often not seen by queuing traffic.

Reader Joanne White contacted the Mercury via Facebook to highlight the issue, prompting several other readers to share their concerns.

Cheryl Sampson wrote: “Yesterday I was in the right hand lane to go across into West Street and not only one but two cars were heading towards West Street still using the left hand lane – almost had my car ploughed into but luckily I was aware of the problems so was on my guard.”

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “As part of a recent redesign of this junction, we considered a number of options regarding the layout and lane arrangements.

“This option was chosen as it gave significant capacity benefits which should help improve traffic flow, particularly during peak times.”