Key Taunton junction set for upgrade

A major scheme to replace and upgrade one of Taunton’s key junctions is being planned for later this year.

Improving the junction where East Street and East Reach meet Hurdle Way is a priority as the traffic lights are old and any significant fault could render them irreparable.

All equipment will be replaced, and Somerset County Council is also looking to improve the layout of the junction to reduce the number of pedestrian movements crossing Hurdle Way from three to two.

You can see a plan of the proposed changes here: East Street junction improvements plan

The new traffic signals will run on extra low voltage (ELV) supply and use LED lights which are more energy efficient and cheaper to run. The junction and approach roads will also be resurfaced with high friction surfacing.

To complete the works as quickly as possible, it will be necessary to close East Street (from its junction with East Reach to the Market House roundabout) for the duration of the works and temporarily ban traffic from turning right from East Reach into Tancred Street. It is expected that work will take around eight weeks and start in June 2016.

You can see a map of the proposed closure here: East Street road closure map

Businesses in and around East Street are being written to this week to give as much notice as possible.

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’re committed to investing in our highways network and this is a key junction in need of an upgrade.

“The new technology will be more reliable and energy efficient to help reduce our running costs, and I’m pleased we’re going to improve the layout to make it easier and safer for people to cross a very busy junction.

“It is never an easy decision to close a major road, but we believe this is the best way to complete this work as safely and quickly as possible.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be looking to work closely with local businesses, residents and other key stakeholders, like bus operators, to understand any concerns. If you have a query, please let us know.”

Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for Planning and Transport at Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “We recognise that this is critical work essential to improve a key junction in the centre of Taunton. We hope it can be carried out to schedule to minimise the impact on our local businesses, residents and planned summer events.”

The details of the scheme, including confirmed dates, are still being finalised as the County Council works with the contractor to keep disruption to a minimum. Further information will be provided when a final plan is available.

To contact the Council, please call Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 or email roadsandtransportSD@somerset.gov.uk.