Multi-million boost for transport links

Somerset County Council has warmly welcomed investment of nearly £3m in infrastructure for Bridgwater and Taunton announced today (11.9.14).

The Department for Transport (DfT) is providing £2.85m funding to the County Council for four schemes to upgrade transport links in the towns to support the planned development of Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

  • £1.6 million for roads maintena This early funding would allow existing roads between M5 and Hinkley Point to be improved in advance, reducing disruption and avoiding costs to the taxpayer for preventative work further down the line.
  • £295,000 for a cycle route linking Bridgwater to Hinkley Point. This would see improved cycle facilities from Bridgwater to the site. Scheduled to begin in 2014/15, it would include a cycle route separated from the road.
  • £150,000 for a scheme linking Taunton’s new DfT-funded inner distributor road to the rail station. This would improve connections between the railway and power station, helping the workforce that is expected to travel by rail. The Taunton Northern Inner Distributor Road is due to be completed in 2014 to 2015.
  • £800,000 for rail station improvements at Bridgwater. The emphasis is on linking trains with local bus services that would allow the Hinkley workforce to get to and from the power station. The funding would ensure that the critical first phase improvements to the station and access are in place in good time.

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Business and Inwards Investment, said: “This is great news for these towns and the county as a whole. Growth is hugely important, however, it’s critical that our infrastructure keeps pace so it can cater for the transport needs that come with it. This funding will make a significant contribution to that.”

“In the current economic climate, investment like this is even more valuable,” added Cllr John Osman, Leader of the Council. “Now our task is to work with our partners to deliver these improvements alongside our other infrastructure schemes, as quickly as possible with the minimum of disruption. That’s not easy, but the long-term benefits for these towns and the county are huge in terms of attracting continued investment. ”

Somerset County Council has worked with the support of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership to secure this funding.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities from Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay and the area’s District Councils.  It is one of 39 partnerships created since the Government’s Local Growth White Paper published in October 2010.  More information about the work of the LEP is available from the website www.heartofswlep.co.uk