A new footway and cycleway is currently being built alongside the A39 between Cannington and Sandford Hill. This page gives more information about the scheme and answers some frequently asked questions.
Why is the new cycleway being built?
This Somerset County Council scheme involves construction of a new footway and cycleway alongside the A39 between Cannington Main Road Roundabout and Sandford Hill Roundabout.
The route will connect off-road cycle facilities that have recently been provided between Cannington and Combwich, and link to on-road provision for cyclists through Wembdon to connect into a series of additional cycle improvements within Bridgwater. Further off-road facilities already extend into the Steart Marshes.
The purpose of this scheme is primarily to provide a safe off road route for cyclists and pedestrians currently using this route and to encourage more to use the route in future.
When did the works start and when will they end?
The scheme started on 26 June 2017 and is due to end on 10 November. Hedge and tree planting will take place at a later date.
How is traffic being managed?
To keep traffic delays to a minimum and avoid disruption to the A39, the majority of the work has been carried out from the field side using a licence agreement with the landowners. The project has recently reached a point when temporary traffic lights are required to ensure the safety of both workers and pedestrians.
Why are temporary traffic signals now required?
Put simply, there is no longer enough room to provide a safe working area for site staff or road users without using temporary signals.
During the initial 12 weeks of the works, temporary traffic signals were not required because sufficient room was available next to the existing road to accommodate site workers, pedestrians and road users. However, since Monday 18 September, temporary lights have been required along the stretch of road near Cannington Mowers.
This is because the existing footway is being dug up and replaced with a 1.0 metre grass verge so pedestrians and cyclists do not walk or cycle adjacent to the highway once the scheme is complete.
The temporary lights will now be required until the works are complete.
What provisions are in place for pedestrians?
A safe route will be provided to allow pedestrians to pass the site at all times. Unfortunately it will not be possible to escort pedestrians through the live construction site, so during working hours the safe zone will be made available in the highway.
How are the temporary traffic signals being operated?
The lights are under manual control during peak times and if required at other times of the day. Manual control means there are staff checking queue lengths and adjusting the lights if one direction needs favouring over the other. Queue lengths are also monitored during the day to ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible.
Why are the signals removed at weekends?
We’re committed to minimising disruption wherever possible and we’re able to remove the lights at weekends because no work is taking place. On Friday the site can be fenced off and a safe area provided for pedestrians to pass through the working area.
Why can’t the traffic lights be removed overnight during the week?
After work has finished for the day, a safe route for pedestrians still needs to be provided. Unfortunately it is impractical to carry out the work in a way that would enable the off-road path to be re-opened each evening. In addition, traffic signals take time to put in place or remove and doing this each day would cause significant additional disruption to traffic.
Why can’t the signals be restricted to off-peak working hours only?
In addition to the above, shortening the working day would also mean the job would take far longer to complete. We will be monitoring traffic flows at peak times closely and ensuring signals are manually controlled. However, some disruption is unavoidable and we apologise for any inconvenience.
What other measures have been taken to minimise disruption?
Working hours on certain Mondays and Fridays will be adjusted to allow for an expected increase in traffic on the A39 due to major events at Butlins.
Will any other roads be affected?
Yes. A closure of Main Road will be required in order to safely carry out work to widen the three pedestrian islands around the Cannington South Roundabout. This has been planned to take place between Monday 23 October and Friday 27 October as it is half term when roads are generally quieter and Butlins does not have any major events planned. We appreciate this will cause disruption to local businesses and will be writing to them in advance. The closure will also mean that two bus stops in Cannington cannot be served. Again, we apologise for this. Buses of Somerset will ensure notices are posted on affected stops to advise passengers of the nearest stop.
You can see a plan of the Main Road closure here
Is there any other advice for drivers using the A39?
We apologise for the inconvenience these essential works may cause. As your journey may take longer than usual, we recommend you allow extra time. Please help us to keep traffic moving by driving considerately and ensuring that you do not block entrances.