Frequently asked questions
The mini-roundabout at the junction of Sherborne Road and Lyde Road is being replaced by a new traffic light controlled junction.
Why are the works needed?
The works are about making sure that congestion in Yeovil isn’t made any worse by the extra traffic that comes with new homes and employment developments. That doesn’t mean there will be an immediate end to congestion, but the situation would be worse if nothing was done.
Barratt Homes is obliged to improve the road network as part of a legal agreement linked to the nearby Wyndham Park development. When permission for the construction of hundreds of homes was approved by South Somerset District Council in 2006, it included a condition for road improvements to mitigate against the expected increase in traffic. This included upgrading the mini-roundabout to a signalised junction. The agreement was first signed in 2008 and then revised in 2012 and 2015. A signalised junction will allow traffic levels to be managed more effectively at peak times and makes it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross the road.
Who is paying for the work and who is carrying it out?
This work is being funded by Barratt Homes and carried out by their principal contractor Tithegrove.
What is Somerset County Council’s role in the work?
Somerset County Council, as the highway authority, is responsible for ensuring the developer fulfils its legal requirements and for overseeing the work and making sure the correct processes are followed. We also manage the wider road network and work with the developer and contractor to co-ordinate the work alongside other schemes, and ensure all efforts are made to keep disruption to a minimum.
How will the work be carried out and how will traffic be managed?
Work started in September 2016 with the first phase of work taking place off the highway. This included site set up, exploratory work, work to make safe and divert underground services like pipes and cables, and realignment of the existing wall.
The second phase started on Monday 9 January and includes excavation, drainage, realigning of islands, construction of footpaths and installation of the new traffic lights. This was timed to start in January to avoid impacting on the important pre-Christmas trading period. During this phase there will be two-way traffic lights on Sherborne Road and Lyde Road will be closed. See the diversion on our roadworks page.
The third phase is due to start on Friday 10 March with Lyde Road reopening and multi-way temporary traffic lights on the junction of Lyde and Sherborne Roads. Drivers will also be banned from turning right from Sherborne Road into St Michael’s Avenue. This ban will become permanent once the new junction is complete.
The final phases of work will continue until June and see the completion and commissioning of the traffic lights, installation of signs and street furniture, final surfacing and white lining.
When will work be finished?
The contractor expects to complete the scheme by summer 2017.
Will there be disruption?
Sherborne Road is one of the key routes into Yeovil and is used by thousands of vehicles every day, so some disruption is unavoidable, although every effort has been made to keep this to a minimum. For example, the first phase is being carried out off the carriageway with no impact on traffic. The decision to close Lyde Road and use two-way lights rather than three-way lights was also taken to try to keep traffic moving along the A30. Somerset County Council will be monitoring the works once underway and working with the developer and contractor to make sure everything possible is done to minimise disruption.
What consultation has taken place?
This scheme was agreed when the planning application was approved back in 2006 so no further formal consultation is required. The developer is responsible for communicating with the public. Work has been advertised in the usual way and the contractor has been keeping local residents and businesses up to date through regular letter drops.
Will this work improve the traffic situation in Yeovil?
Yeovil is a growing town and new homes and employment sites mean extra traffic. The modelling done on this scheme (and others across the town) takes into account the expected increase in traffic if all the planned development goes ahead. It estimates that once all the improvements are complete, journeys will be 16% faster across the Eastern side of town compared with how they would be without the improvements. It’s not a magic wand and it does not mean an immediate end to congestion, but it should be an improvement compared with doing nothing. As the highway authority, we’re committed to improving our roads to the best possible standards we can with the resources we have available. This means making sure developers fulfil their legal obligations to mitigate against the impact of their developments.
If temporary traffic lights are likely to cause so much disruption, how will the completed junction be any different?
There’s a big difference between temporary lights and permanent ones. The temporary lights are in place to allow lanes to be closed so work can take place, and will only allow traffic to travel from one direction at a time for a fixed amount of time. Permanent lights will allow multi-way flow – so for example, the A30 will run green for both eastbound and westbound traffic, with eastbound traffic also being able to turn left onto Lyde Road. Likewise, when Lyde Road is green for vehicles turning both left and right, traffic will also be able to turn left from Sherborne Road eastbound into Lyde Road if no conflicting pedestrian movements exist. Permanent traffic lights use state-of-the-art technology to manage traffic according to demand and allocate green time accordingly. This gives greater certainty of journey times and helps to keep traffic moving at busy times.
Why not spend the money on something else?
This work was identified as being necessary through the planning process and is being funded by Barratt Homes as part of a legal requirement linked to the Wyndham Park development. If the money was not spent improving this junction, it could not be spend elsewhere.
Why can’t they do the work at night?
All options were considered but night-time work is not acceptable as there are homes in the area who would not appreciate the noise. There would also be little benefit as some kind of traffic management would still be required in the day as it would not be possible to completely clear away all the roadworks, fill in holes in carriageway etc.
My business will be affected, can I apply for compensation?
There is no statutory provision for compensation from the highway authority if a business is affected by roadworks. We understand roadworks are disruptive and take all reasonable steps to minimise this, meeting national standards and conforming to current codes of practice. We will also ensure the contractor maintains safe access for local businesses at all times and encourage people to continue using businesses in the area.
Why are there so many roadworks in Yeovil?
We’ve mentioned above the amount of growth currently taking place around Yeovil, with major new developments at Wyndham Park, Lufton and Brimsmore. Every new development requires access, power, heating, water, sewerage, phones, broadband etc, and this means many roadworks. On top of that you also have improvement schemes linked to the development, such as this scheme, and others like those recently at Hospital and Horsey roundabouts. Then you have highways maintenance – essential work such as drainage or resurfacing schemes to prevent deterioration of the road network. There is also demand from utility firms to maintain and upgrade their services under the road – not to mention emergency work like burst pipes or gas leaks. In summary, there is huge demand on the road network in Yeovil. We do our best to co-ordinate all the work, such as rearranging work or using innovative techniques to speed it up – but some disruption is unavoidable.
What are you doing to stop traffic using other unsuitable routes?
We have a signed diversion route in place which is suitable for all traffic and we advise drivers to follow this. We have also added extra ‘unsuitable for HGVs’ signs to help prevent large vehicles getting stuck on narrow roads. However, diversions are advisory and we cannot stop drivers from seeking their own alternative routes.
How can I find out about traffic conditions in Yeovil once work is underway?