A361 reopens after clear-up operation as flood is reduced

The A361 across the Somerset Levels has now reopened after a successful clear-up operation following recent flooding.

A significant stretch of the road had been flooded since last week with emergency road closure gates at Burrowbridge and East Lyng locked shut to keep people safe.

This afternoon (24 Jan) the gates have been reopened and traffic allowed through following safety inspections and work to remove debris and ice from the road surface. Temporary lights remain in place around a layby close to East Lyng where there is frozen mud.

Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, Cllr Mike Rigby said: “We’re pleased and relieved to be able to reopen this key route. I’d like to thank the travelling public and affected communities for their patience and cooperation in very challenging circumstances, as well as our Highways team for all their hard work in the last few weeks at all hours of the day and night, monitoring and clearing up the road, it has been a fantastic effort.

“Whilst we recognise there is still a lot of work ahead through the recovery phase, reopening the A361 is important milestone to restoring access for affected communities.

“Frustratingly some of the flood gates, including the ones at Burrowbridge and East Lyng have been targeted by vandals in the midst of what was a major incident due to flooding. This is downright dangerous.

“The gates are there to protect the public and we would urge motorists once again not to try to attempt to drive through flood waters – you’re putting yourself and others in danger.”

Just 30cm of flood water can float a car and both the Environment Agency and emergency services have continued to urge road users not to attempt to drive through flooded roads. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have reported being called out to attend 21 flood-related incidents between 12 January and 23 January.

Three other sets of emergency gates on the Levels remain closed – these are:

  • Cutts Road (East Lyng to Athelney)
  • New Road (West Lyng to North Curry)
  • Langport Road (Muchelney to Langport)

Emergency flood gates were installed following severe flooding on the Levels in 2014 to stop vehicles potentially getting stuck in floodwaters.

Following enhanced pumping and recent dry weather, water levels have reduced on the Somerset Levels and Moors and it was decided by Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum that the major incident status is no longer needed. 

Check your flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgencySW on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

You can see if emergency road closure gates are open or closed at https://www.travelsomerset.co.uk/roadclosuregates and get travel updates from @TravelSomerset.

Submitted by Communications