*Update 9 November: Wales & West Utilities has completed its work five weeks earlier than planned and handed over the site to Bristol Water
The A371 Wells Road has been subject to ongoing water leaks and repairs, and it has got to the point where mains renewal works cannot be delayed any longer.
Three different utility firms need to carry out major schemes along a stretch of the A371 between Draycott and Rodney Stoke. These schemes are:
Bristol Water: Replacement of approximately 435m of water main in Draycott and 850m of water main in Rodney Stoke. The scheme also includes renewal of associated services to properties.
Wales & West Utilities: The upgrading of approximately 750m of metal piping with longer lasting stronger, safer plastic pipes. The scheme also includes the renewal of the associated services to the properties.
Gigaclear: Installation of fibre optic cable and connection points to properties as part of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme to deliver ultrafast fibre broadband across areas of Somerset.
Sections of the A371 will need to be closed between 1 October and 13 March, although every effort will be made to reopen the road where possible without compromising safety.
Road closures are always the last resort and are only used when no alternative forms of traffic management are available. Each of these schemes requires deep excavations in the carriageway and there is not enough room for vehicles to pass safely, especially in narrow sections of the A371.
Heavy machinery will also be in use and the safety of the workforce and travelling public is the main priority. The utility companies will work with residents to ensure local access to properties is maintained.
The works will be phased to minimise disruption.
Phases 1, 2 and 3 have now been completed
Phase 4: Bristol Water to carry on works completing Draycott and return to Rodney Stoke and complete works through bends to Rodney Stoke Inn.
All three utility firms are working closely with Somerset County Council to co-ordinate the works and minimise disruption.
For example, while Wales & West Utilities are carrying out gas pipe upgrade works in Draycott, Bristol Water will work in Rodney Stoke under two-way traffic lights.
Combining the three schemes under one closure allows some works to overlap, which will shorten the time taken for the works and avoid the need for separate lengthy repeat closures. It also:
- Reduces disruption to school and public transport with a single phase of works.
- Minimises the risk of emergency closures for leaks, which can occur with no notice and are far more disruptive
- Gives the opportunity to trench-share and minimise excavations, reducing disturbance
To allow for additional traffic on nearby routes while the A371 is closed we will put a roadworks embargo the B3139 and B3151 around Wedmore between Mark, Cheddar and Wells. This also includes the A38 and A39 diversion route.
A diversion route suitable for all vehicles will be signposted on site and is shown in the map below or you can search for it on our roadworks page.
Somerset County Council must advertise a diversion route using the same class of road as that which is being closed. As with any road closure, drivers can use their own local knowledge and judgement to find their own alternatives.
School transport will continue to be provided throughout term time during the closure, with details provided to those affected. Somerset County Council will continue to manage this and will update individuals as required if timings change during the road closure period.
Public transport will also be affected by the road closure. Service 126, operated by First, will be diverted via Wedmore and will not serve some stops along the A371. To continue to provide a service to these communities Somerset County Council will be operating a shuttle bus, funded by the utility companies, south of the closure between Draycott and Wells. The timetable is as follows:
First will also be operating a shuttle bus north of the closure, between Draycott and Cheddar. This timetable is as follows
Somerset County Council will be contacting the Somerset Waste Partnership with full details of the closures to ensure they can plan accordingly.
Somerset County Council will be contacting each of the emergency services with full details of the closures to ensure all parties are aware and can plan accordingly.
Some elements of the works are likely to be noisy and would require lighting. This will create a disturbance which would be unfair on residents. Extended working will take place at weekends to minimise the closure duration.
Safety is the number one priority and with open excavations and heavy machinery in the carriageway it is not possible to open the road at the end of each shift. There are legal requirements as to the minimum widths of carriageway which need to be maintained at all times. Reopening the road each day could add several months extra to the overall duration of the works.
The utility firms have been in talks with the community, including the parish council, about these works. They will be sending letters to properties directly affected and will update the wider community through press releases, social media and by providing updates on the site. If anyone has any questions they can contact the relevant utility via the details below.
Anybody who feels they have been affected by these works will need to contact either Wales & West Utilities, Bristol Water or Gigaclear to discuss further as per the contact details provided below.