Home Somerset county Council shares concerns over the doubling of the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster

Council shares concerns over the doubling of the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster

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PLANS to double a key route through Somerset may require an overhaul after concerns have been raised over the design of multiple junctions.

National Highways (formerly Highways England) recently concluded an official consultation on its plan to double the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster, including live events attended by over 600 people.

Somerset County Council released its official response to the consultation, saying it “strongly supports” doubling the road to reduce congestion and cut travel times in Somerset.

However, it has raised concerns about several of the new hubs, which will need to be addressed ahead of a public inquiry into the project scheduled for 2022.

The consultation ended on November 22, with the board submitting its response to National Highways by the deadline and then posting it in full on their website.

Andy Coupé, strategic director of the council for infrastructure programs, said: “If designed appropriately, the project will improve connectivity and access to the southwest region, improve the resilience of the road network. strategic and will help promote economic growth in the region.

Despite this general support, council raised a number of concerns regarding the various intersections that will connect existing local roads to the new two-lane road.

Its main concerns are as follows:

  • Mattock’s Tree Green Junction Design: The Mattock’s Tree Green Junction will connect the dual A358 to the A378 leading to Langport, replacing the current signal-driven T-junction. The council is concerned with the design of the junction, in particular the road leading to the Beauchamp hatch and the layout for non-motorized road users.
  • The Henlade Road: The A358 runs briefly as a four-lane road between the junction with the A378 and the village of Henlade. The council asked whether this stretch of two-lane road will be retained after construction, arguing that it should be replaced with a two-way road for local residents to avoid “unnecessary future maintenance and antisocial behavior”.
  • New link between Capland Lane and Village Road: The most recent designs do not include a link between these two roads near Hatch Beauchamp – which locals say will leave the village cut off in the event of a flood. The council wants to “engage” with engineers at National Highways to “re-examine the flooding issues and what action may need to be taken.”
  • Provision for pedestrians, cyclists and riders: the council welcomes the creation of a new cycle path between Taunton and Ilminster, allowing the program to not only welcome motorists. However, its agents warn that this new route will require “level-separated intersections” to ensure the safety of cyclists and must take into account the increasing speeds and volumes of traffic in key areas.
  • Southfields Roundabout: During the A303 looping investigation, there was a lot of talk about how riders might cross Sparkford Roundabout after construction was completed. The council asked for clarification on the possibility for the riders to access the Southfields roundabout from both sides, arguing that “everything must be done … to improve the situation for all users”.