End in sight for closed road

Work to repair a road near Ilminster which has been closed since February could begin early next month after investigative work was completed.

The B3168 at The Beacon was closed for safety reasons earlier this year when extreme wet weather caused the road to move and there were concerns for the safety of drivers.

It was not obvious why the road was slipping, so Somerset County Council employed geotechnical experts to carry out extensive surveys which found two areas where the road failed and where major works are required.

The investigations identified that the failure was contained within the upper layers of the road and did not affect nearby properties. Therefore the extensive repair work will include a new drainage system and full reconstruction of the highway and footways. This will increase the strength of the road to protect against future movements and it is hoped the work could be completed by Christmas.

Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The safety of the public has always been our number one concern and we had to be absolutely sure what was causing the problem to make sure there was no danger to road users.

“I know that has been frustrating, but I hope people can understand why the road has been closed for so long. The investigations have been very technical and very thorough, but I’m pleased to report they have been successful and we have been able to find a solution.

“We now have some major rebuilding to do which will take several weeks, but it is great news that work can start soon and I hope the road will be reopened in time for Christmas.”