EDF’s roadwork chaos on Taunton road/Broadway could be over by summer following agreement at the latest in a series of round table meetings at Bridgwater Town Hall between Town Council leaders , EDF reps, SCC and SDC.
Stephen Gardner , the site manager for the contractors Aggregate Industries , offered a solution that focused on a programme of night work for the next phase which principally involved resurfacing – the most potentially disruptive part of the operation. If agreed this could start within 3 weeks and the whole project could be finished by the end of June .
Mr Gardner said “This will involve splitting the junction works north/south with road closures, but the works, which will be largely ‘planing’, will be undertaken between 7pm and 7am with the noisier aspects before 11pm. There will be a series of diversions in place for the duration but this approach will bring the timescale down from massively. “
Town Council leader’s backing
Newly elected Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “The important thing now is to get this project finished as soon as possible ,restore the road network through Bridgwater and re-open the town centre for the traders who are suffering from this. People have asked for night working as a solution and the Town Council supports this approach now as a priority”.
Mayor urges ‘better communication’
Chairing the meeting Cllr Leigh Redman , the new Mayor of Bridgwater, said “What is crucial now is communication with residents and traders. In the past this has been poor. EDF needs to ensure a wide arc around the area is notified and kept informed of timings and disruption. This should include from Friarn street to the Taunton road bridge and across the river to Salmon Parade because night working will be noisy.”
Lucy Holt, EDF’s project manager said “We will undertake to carry that out including a general awareness of the work program, detailed information for individuals affected and information for businesses including buses and taxis. If this is agreed work could start on 16th June and by the first week of July people will see the place looking like a Junction again. The resurfacing should take 14 days and within a week of completion we will move the welfare compound to Morrisons. After that there will be some works to the pathways and then some minor tweaking of the electronics.”
‘The sooner the better’
Andy Coupe, Somerset County Councils service manager for Nuclear, said “SCC are keen to facilitate whatever people here feel is the right approach with regard to the TRO process.”
Sedgemoor officers present said the DCO process would take 2 weeks as no further consultation was required if all parties were in agreement with this plan of action.
Town Clerk Alan Hurford said “For the town the sooner these works are finished the better. This response shows that EDF have listened to us , are addressing our concerns and getting something done.”
Cllr Redman added “I am really pleased that EDFe (the owners of the work) have listened to those people affected by the road works at Taunton road Broadway junction, to hear that following review they have decided to complete resurfacing works (almost the last phase) using night time working, this will shorten the disruption, cutting more than 30 days off the construction period, I have asked that a comprehensive communication strategy be used to ensure those living in the area are aware of what is planned.
I understand that the works will be done over a 2 & a bit week period and involve two road closures, first being the north section, town centre side of Broadway and include the town side of old Taunton road and Taunton road, with the second and potentially most disruptive for night time drivers being the south section out of town side of Broadway and the stretch of Taunton road along the garage and upto Taunton road medical centre. EDFe will be communicating a lot wider than the first comms exercise, this will involve a letter to all houses potentially affected, followed up with another letter detailing final dates when agreed.
I think, anything that shortens the impact should be welcomed, but night time noise must be limited and controlled, with residents and those road users told in a meaningful way what is happening so that people can make alternative plans if appropriate.
As I hear more I will try to ensure that the details are communicated, I know that both District and County councillors will be working for a swift completion of these works. EDFe will be circulating contact details and we will communicate these.”