The next phase of a major road scheme in Taunton is due to take place next month with the return of a bridge over a key route in the town.
Drivers are advised to plan their journeys carefully when Station Road is closed for five days so the new Kingston Loop Bridge can be lowered into place by Somerset County Council’s contractor Carillion. The former rail bridge is being converted into a road bridge as part of the Northern Inner Distributor Road (NIDR) project.
The contractor has informed the Council that Station Road will be fully closed to traffic from 6.30am on Monday 19 September until 11.30pm on Friday 23 September. The contractor has also booked the following week from Monday 26 September to Friday 30 September as a contingency should works over-run.
The new bridge has been designed to preserve the look of the Station Road area as much as possible, and the historic steel edge beams have been refurbished and will be returned with the new bridge.
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “This is another key milestone and we’re all looking forward to having the new bridge in place. It means an unavoidable road closure, but motorists, cyclists and pedestrians showed great patience during the previous one and we hope they will be able to do the same again.”
The Kingston Loop Bridge is the last major structural component of the NIDR to complete, although other work remains. This includes surfacing near the new bridge; surfacing, lining and lighting between the new bridge and Staplegrove roundabout; signing and lining to prevent parking on the new route; completion of the Firepool Bridge, and general landscaping. The Council expects the contractor to complete the new road by the end of 2016.
A number of alternative arrangements will be in place during the closure, similar to those in place when the bridge was removed back in May.
- For vehicles, a signed diversion route will be in place via the Obridge Viaduct, although, as with any road closure, drivers are free to seek their own alternatives.
- For pedestrians, access will be maintained during working hours (6.30am to 11.30pm) using steps and a ramp via Whitehall. Outside of working hours, one of the footpaths beneath the bridge will be reopened for pedestrian access.
- For pedestrians with limited mobility, Carillion will be providing a shuttle bus.
- Parents with prams and pushchairs will be offered help using the steps, or they can choose to catch the shuttle bus.
- Cyclists can use the diversion for vehicles or will be offered assistance using the pedestrian route. Alternative routes for cyclists are also available, including via Leslie Avenue/The Avenue to the west, and via Obridge Road/Winkworth Way/offroad cycletrack/Canal Road to the east.
The NIDR is a multi-million pound project commissioned by Somerset County Council and carried out by the construction contractor Carillion to unlock the Firepool regeneration site where there are ambitious plans for a riverside business, residential and shopping development. By providing a link from Priory Avenue to Staplegrove Road, it should also help to ease congestion in the town centre and on Priorswood Road.