Vital drainage work at Dragon Cross

The next phase of essential drainage improvements on a key road in West Somerset is due to take place early next month.

The A39 at Dragon Cross near Bilbrook has historically been affected by flooding with emergency closures in 2011/12 causing widespread problems and leaving some drivers stranded.

Work to improve the pipework under the ground took place in 2013 and further measures have been carried out since. This final phase of work will improve the catchment of water and debris running off nearby farmland, which should further help reduce the risk of severe flooding on the road during times of heavy rain.

Due to the nature of the work and the narrow width of the road, a temporary road closure will be required to keep the workforce and travelling public safe. Overnight road closures were considered but ruled out on grounds of safety.

To minimise disruption for commuters and school transport, the road will only be closed during off peak hours – from Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 3.30pm. Temporary traffic lights will be in place outside these times.

The diversion route is not suitable for large vehicles over 18 tonnes or 9.5m in length so arrangements are in place to escort lorries and coaches through the works during two periods each day. These will be from 11am to 11.30am and 1pm to 1.30pm. Cars and light vehicles should follow the diversion and will not be permitted through the site at these times.

Work will begin on Monday 6 November and is due to be completed by Thursday 30 November – before Dunster in Candlelight on Friday 1 December.

Drivers are also advised of overnight resurfacing work on the A39 near Washford Cross which will take place during the week beginning Monday 20 November.

The A39 east of Washford Cross will be closed from 7pm to 7am on 20/21 November with the A39 west of Washford Cross closed from 7pm to 7am on 22/23/24 November.

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council Cabinet member for Highways, said: “It is always very challenging to carry out improvements in West Somerset due to the rural nature of the roads and shortage of alternative routes.

“These two schemes represent significant investment in a very important road, but unfortunately some short term disruption is unavoidable.

“We’re doing our very best to keep this to a minimum – we’ve chosen the quietest time of year, we’ve tried to avoid key events and we have put additional measures in place to solve known issues.

“Please help us with our planning by getting in touch asap if you have any concerns so we can look to address these before work begins.”

The County Council is in discussions with bus operator Buses of Somerset over public transport arrangements.

A suggested diversion route can be found at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/roadworks or will be clearly signposted on site. You can contact the area highways office with any queries by calling 0300 123 2224 or emailing countyroads-westsom@somerset.gov.uk.

Stay up to date with this and other roadworks schemes by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter.