Toneway Creech Castle upgrade moves step closer

A major road improvement scheme to upgrade the busy Toneway Creech Castle junction in Taunton is on track to start this spring, following a decision taken today.

Somerset County Council has developed a design over several years to reduce congestion and improve access to Taunton by increasing the capacity of the junction. The upgrade includes significantly enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and is critical to allow planned development at Monkton Heathfield to go ahead.

The authority’s Cabinet met today and voted to award a contract for the scheme’s construction following a competitive tendering process. The successful bidder will be named early next month once the paperwork is formally signed.

Works are scheduled to begin in the spring, with the project running alongside the M5 Junction 25 scheme which is already under construction.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This is further, much needed investment to improve roads around Taunton. We’ve already secured funding to improve Junction 25 and now we’re tackling the next pinchpoint at Toneway Creech Castle.

“Running these two schemes concurrently is the right thing to do – it means vital funding is secured, it means any temporary disruption will be confined to a shorter time period, and, most importantly, it means we will all enjoy the benefits sooner.

“The next step will be to finalise the detailed plan for delivery and we’ll be sharing these with the community in the next few weeks.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, which is providing £6.41m Growth Deal funding towards the scheme, said: “Our Growth Deal fund with Government is designed generate economic growth across the Heart of the South West area of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. This upgrade to Toneway will improve access in and out of Taunton, and complements the wider road improvements in the area which include another of our Growth Deal projects at Junction 25 on the M5.”

Today’s decision follows extensive public consultation back in 2018 which showed most respondents were supportive of the scheme’s objectives.

Although the main construction programme will not start until later in the spring, advance site clearance near the Creech Castle junction could start as early as next week. These preliminary works will be carried out as part of the Junction 25 scheme.

Public drop-in events are also being planned to take place in March – details to follow.

You can stay up to date with roadworks and find travel alerts at www.travelsomerset.co.uk or follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter.

Funding

The Toneway Creech Castle scheme upgrade is expected to cost around £9m with allocated funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal Fund, Somerset County Council and developer contributions.

The Heart of the South West LEP’s total Growth Deal is worth over £590m; including £239m from Government and £351m match funding. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal: 2015 – 2021; HotSW LEP estimates the investment will create up to 22,504 new jobs and 16,815 new homes; over 55,381 people will be trained under this programme and over 39,325 businesses will have been supported.

“Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood