Work to install a new crossing to provide safe access to two schools in Monkton Heathfield is due to start on Monday (23 March).
Somerset County Council will be constructing the puffin crossing on the A3259 Heathfield Road between the junctions of Mead Way and Elms Estate. This is on one of the main routes to and from West Monkton Primary School and Heathfield Community School and currently has a school crossing patrol twice a day.
The crossing was put forward for funding by local County Councillor Cllr David Fothergill through the Council’s Small Improvement Schemes programme and has the support of the Parish Council and the local community.
Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “I’m delighted that we now have a start date for work to build this new crossing. I know the community have been actively campaigning for something to be done and we’ve worked closely with them to design this scheme.
“The new puffin crossing will make it much easier and safer for children to navigate this popular route to school each day and it will also benefit the rest of the community.”
Work will begin on Monday 23 March and take around four weeks with temporary traffic lights required along the A3259 at certain times. However, a road closure is not required as the preliminary works were carried out during a previous road closure last year.
Cllr Siggs added: “We often get accused of not thinking ahead or considering the bigger picture, but in this case we really got it right, by taking advantage of a closure for emergency drainage repairs further down the road to complete the preliminary work for this scheme.
“Normally, building a new crossing would require a road closure but in this case we can now carry out the remaining work while keeping the road open. My thanks go to all involved and I look forward to seeing the new crossing up and running in a few weeks.”
As part of the scheme, it will be necessary to stop traffic turning left out of the southern exit of Elms Estate. However, to improve the flow in and out of the northern access, the grass verge on the north side of Elms Estate will be replaced with a parking bay. This will allow two-way traffic on this road which is currently restricted by parked vehicles.