A £16 million package of road improvement schemes is being delivered by EDF Energy in Somerset to help keep traffic flowing during the construction of Hinkley Point C.
Major improvements are already underway including a new roundabout at Washford Cross in West Somerset, a new Cannington bypass and increasing capacity at Taunton Road and Broadway Junction to help plan against the expected traffic and transport impact.
EDF Energy studied the need for a Bridgwater Bypass in 2008. From its findings, EDF Energy did not include a Bridgwater Bypass in its proposals to mitigate against increased traffic effects. EDF Energy’s decision was based on Government policy that prefers traffic management over new road building, as well as the environmental impact of a bypass.
The assessments and evidence did not support the view that a Bypass was required in order to make EDF’s proposal acceptable. In addition, a Bypass would not be delivered in time to mitigate against the impacts of the development and in the long-term may be economically detrimental to the town as commuters and Somerset visitors bypass Bridgwater.
The Councils requested that the Planning Inspectorate and, ultimately the Secretary of State, examined this matter so that all options were considered when reaching a final judgement.
The Secretary of State welcomed the significant level of mitigation achieved through the negotiations between EDF Energy and the Councils to address traffic and transport impacts. This approach was also supported throughout by the Planning Inspectorate’s report which ruled that a Bypass wasn’t necessary to mitigate against traffic and travel impacts.
Working closely with Sedgemoor and Somerset County Councils, EDF Energy have proposed various Bridgwater highway improvement schemes to increase traffic capacity, improve traffic efficiency whilst putting in new cycle and walking routes to encourage alternative travel. These schemes, which arose from detailed transport analysis and discussions with local authorities, have been the subject of extensive public consultation.
EDF Energy’s strategy is very much based on managing and minimising the numbers of vehicles on local roads, and improving traffic flow to mitigate the impact of construction. For example, EDF Energy plans to carry heavy materials by sea, which will avoid about 280 HGV movements a day at peak construction. They also plan to carry workers by bus from strategically positioned park and ride sites, avoiding up to 2,530 cars a day on the local road network.
More information about these road improvements and the Hinkley Point C project is available at EDF Energy’s visitor centre in Angel Place Shopping Centre, Bridgwater, open between 9.30am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 1.00pm on Saturdays.