Public events detailing plans for an £18m upgrade of Junction 25 of the M5 have now concluded – but you can still view the plans and have your say online.
Hundreds of people turned out across two events at Ruishton and Taunton Library and spoke to officers about the scheme.
Junction 25 is the main access point to Taunton and also provides a critical link to the second strategic route into the South West – the A303 via the A358.
Somerset County Council has been working with partners to develop a scheme to increase the capacity of this vital link to improve traffic flow, ease peak hour congestion and unlock land for employment.
The proposed scheme involves full signalisation and enlarging of the roundabout, improved signs on approach to the junction, widening of the eastern exit, a new roundabout to access the proposed Strategic Employment Site, and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities.
A range of potential solutions were explored taking into account a number constraints and issues, including:
- The proposed development of the Strategic Employment Site.
- The growth aspirations for Taunton, including developments at Monkton Heathfield, Nerrols Farm, Comeytrowe and Staplegrove.
- Achieving maximum value for the public investment, including providing extra capacity for the employment site and supporting Highways England on the proposed A358 improvement scheme.
- The culvert that bridges the Broughton Brook is only wide enough for three lanes of traffic. To widen the culvert, the A358 would need to be closed and the structure removed and replaced. This level of disruption would be unacceptable.
- The site is within Flood Zone 3 and adequate mitigation measures need to be provided, working alongside the Environment Agency.
The scheme is expected to cost around £18m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, and developer contributions.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Your views are really important to us so thank you to everyone who came along and viewed the plans.
“Most people agree that something needs to be done to improve Junction 25 and the events were really helpful so we could explain to people how and why the proposed scheme has been developed.
“If you didn’t have chance to attend an event, there is still time for you to see the plans online and let us know what you think.”
Junction 25 currently experiences congestion in both peak hours, with queues frequently extending along the A358 in both directions and occasionally backed up onto the M5.
The upgrade aims to improve journey times, reduce congestion, improve Park & Ride journey time reliability and create a more attractive access to Taunton, Yeovil and the A303 from the M5.
The scheme will also unlock access into a proposed new strategic employment site and support other planned growth across Taunton which includes 13,000 new homes and 6,000 jobs.
The design for the J25 improvements is being developed alongside Highways England’s plans to upgrade the A358.
Once the public consultation is complete, the next step will be for the County Council to draw up detailed plans and begin the procurement process.
If approved, construction is likely to take up to two years, with work not expected to start before 2018/19.
To view the plans and have your say, please visit http://www.somersetconsults.org.uk/consult.ti/M5_J25/consultationHome. The online consultation closes on Wednesday 12 October.