Final push to complete replacement of hazardous retaining wall

A challenging scheme to completely rebuild a crumbling retaining wall along a stretch of one of Somerset’s busiest transport arteries is nearing completion.

Excellent progress is being made on the A30 at Haselbury Plucknett with work nearing the final stages of completion. Now in order to complete the scheme, there will need to be overnight closures of the road for 5 days later this month. Somerset County Council’s contractor has removed the dangerously deteriorating old retaining wall along the side of the road and is building a completely new structure.

In order to deliver the completed scheme the team will need to close the road during the evening from 25-29 July, Monday to Friday. This will allow full access to the road for the workforce.

The closure will be from 8pm to 6am each day and the road will reopen under temporary lights during daytime hours. The team is aiming to complete the scheme by the end of July, weather permitting.

A diversion will be in place – details can be found on

Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Transport and Digital said: “This has been a really difficult scheme for the local community and we’re incredibly grateful for their patience and continued support.

“The team met the many challenges they faced brilliantly, showing flexibility and great innovation in order to get this work done. I’m pleased to confirm the end is now in sight.”

Since work began in February, the team have faced significant challenges, which included:

  • Access to the structure was on private land with limited scope for excavation until works commenced, when it was clear the deterioration was much worse than anticipated. This meant the structure had to be secured first, adding time to the programme. The cooperation of the land owners is greatly appreciated, it has undoubtedly reduced costs and associated project time.
  • Delays were also caused by Storms Eunice and Franklin at the start of the scheme.
  • During the first phase of work the team uncovered previously uncharted services (pipes, ducts and cables) under the ground which meant liaising with Wessex Water and BT to investigate and ensure works could progress safely.
  • A further challenge was presented by a large area of older masonry from a much earlier wall under the surface which needed to be excavated and removed.
  • Although the initial phase of work was carried out under road closure, the vast majority of the scheme is being delivered under temporary lights, with convoy movements for HGV vehicles to minimise disruption for local residents and businesses. This has meant restrictions on the size of the works area and consequently a longer timeframe to deliver the scheme.

Somerset County Council looks after 4,172 miles of road and in 2021/22 invested £25.4m to keep the county moving.

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Submitted by Communications