TAUNTON’S park and ride service will be free from next week to encourage its use and minimise disruption during a major upgrade of the Creech Castle junction on Tone Way.
The £8.3m project, which was deferred last year because of the pandemic, requires the A38 Bridgwater Road on the north side of the junction to be closed to all traffic for the duration of the work – although a diversion will be in place.
Work starts on Monday and is due for completion next summer.
Cllr David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their support and patience during what is a period of significant change for the town’s road infrastructure.
“Doing nothing isn’t an option as Taunton continues to grow and the upgrade at Creech Castle follows the key improvements at Junction 25 and the newly opened Western Relief Road.
“We fully understand this will be a very challenging scheme to deliver and want to do what we can to minimise the disruption.
“We hope making the park and ride free will help make life a little bit easier for everyone travelling around the town and encourage people to keep visiting while this vital work is carried out.”
A council spokesperson said: “The scheme at Creech Castle includes road widening and requires very significant works activities with heavy machinery and excavations in the road.
“Therefore, in order to keep both the workforce and travelling public safe, it is necessary to close Bridgwater Road north of the junction. This will affect vehicles but not pedestrians or cyclists who will have access throughout.
“There will also be no right turn into Bridgwater Road south of the junction. This will be a permanent change starting from August 9.
“Other alternatives were carefully considered – including the use of temporary multi-way traffic lights instead of a road closure – but these were projected to cause much more severe disruption with long queues on the Toneway, potentially impacting on the M5.”
“Residents and businesses and those wishing to access the supermarket and other premises will continue to have access to the A38 although this will need be from the north.
“Those accessing premises south of the railway bridge such as the Creech Castle Business Centre, including the Taunton Dialysis Centre, will need to do so from Toneway.”