Yeovil Western Corridor

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Yeovil Western Corridor

Yeovil Western Corridor

***Latest News***

From Monday 4 December, Alun Griffiths will begin removing the splitter islands around the Bluebell Roundabout with lane closures in place.

Somerset County Council is upgrading several roundabouts and junctions along the western side of Yeovil. This page explains more about the scheme and what the work will involve.

Introduction

The Yeovil Western Corridor scheme is the name given to a package of improvements to transport links along the western side of the town.

The scheme has been developed over a number of years to accommodate planned growth in the area and includes upgrades to several junctions and roundabouts.

These include the Lysander Road roundabout, Westlands Roundabout, Bluebell Roundabout, Preston Road roundabout and Copse Road junction, as well as improved links for pedestrians and cyclists across the area.

You can read more about the background and see the plans on the Somerset County Council Yeovil Western Corridor page

The aim of the Yeovil Western Corridor scheme is to reduce congestion, improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and support the economy of Yeovil – aims that will benefit the whole community. Yeovil is a growing town with 1,547 dwellings proposed for residential developments at Brimsmore (830) and Lufton (717), in addition to a 16 hectare employment site at Bunford Park and a 4.5 hectare employment site at Lufton. It has been identified that the existing transport network would not be able to accommodate this growth without significant increases in journey times and delays.

The modelling done on this scheme (and other improvements already completed on the Eastern Corridor) 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 23% faster across the Western side of town and 16% faster across the Eastern side of town compared with how they would be without the improvements. It does not mean an immediate end to all congestion, but it will 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 applying for external funding where available and making sure developers fulfil their legal obligations to mitigate against the impact of their developments.

The scheme is expected to cost approximately £14.5m with £6.49m provided by the Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Fund, approximately £5m from developer contributions through signed Section 106 agreements and approximately £3m from Somerset County Council’s Capital Fund.

The business case for the scheme shows it represents very good value for money with every £1 spent generating £12.50 of savings in journey times for road users, reduced accidents and easier access by bike and on foot.

The work is being carried out by Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd. Griffiths is a leading regional civil engineering and construction contractor with a track record stretching back almost 50 years. They construct new roads, bridges and railways as well as maintaining existing assets for both public and private clients.

Griffiths are not new to working in the South West having successfully delivered recent projects in neighbouring Devon at the Portmore Roundabout, Barnstaple, and Westaway Junction, Barnstaple. Griffiths are also currently creating a new junction on the A361 at Tiverton and are in the process of completing a major infrastructure project in North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire for Metrobus and a Quayside environment project in Bath for Bath and North-East Somerset Council.

A public consultation event was held in Yeovil in May 2014 and since then there has been extensive consultation with Elected Members from both Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council. This is in addition to the public consultation carried out by the Local Transport Board (LTB) when the scheme was submitted for funding.

Now the scheme is underway there will be regular contact with the community, including public drop-in events and letters to residents and businesses.

A dedicated Public Liaison Officer (PLO) has been appointed by the contractor for the project who will maintain and develop a community website, as well as using social media to inform of future work, progress and traffic management. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be seen below.

An initial newsletter was delivered to thousands of homes and businesses near the works area and noticeboards at key locations will be used to provide updates.

Two pre-construction drop-in sessions have also been held and were well attended.

A Project Information Centre (PIC) has now been set up at Palmers Garden Centre and will be open every Tuesday (except Boxing Day) from 1.30pm to 5.30pm. Public Liaison Officer Rosemarie Harrod will be on hand to answer any questions and the public will be able to view the scheme drawings and receive up to date information about progress.

Construction started on the main Western Corridor scheme in October 2017. Most of the early work will take place off the carriageway with minimal impact on traffic flows. Check the Latest News section for updates.

The construction programme is expected to take approximately 18 months

The 18-month programme will be split into various phased stages to minimise the disruption to traffic, residents and businesses. During the course of the project, weekly and monthly updates of progress and upcoming works will be highlighted on the Community website and through local notice boards at key locations within the parish community, along with drop in sessions and other media sources.

While the works are planned in the following areas, some flexibility is always required in case works areas need to change to maintain momentum and avoid undue delays.

The first step will be to set up a compound site in the field area off Lysander Road Roundabout. This will be followed by trial hole investigation works on the highway verge and offline works on the cycleway extension at Stourton Way. These works will not impede traffic flows and there will be minimal disruption on the main routes in Yeovil in the run-up to Christmas.

Further updates will be issued as work progresses, particularly as works locations change or when new phases are due to begin.

Details of the programme and commencement of each section will be displayed at the drop-ins, community website, weekly surgeries and newsletters and noticeboards. Efforts will also be made to use the internet and social media to keep people informed.

The project will be registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) which aims to improve the image of the construction industry. Construction sites voluntarily register with the scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements. The contractor’s performance will be monitored and scored by an independent assessor against this Code to identify good practice and areas for improvement.

Griffiths has recently won National Silver and Bronze Awards for sites in the Metrobus project in Bristol.
You can find more information on the CCS here

Somerset County Council is responsible for co-ordinating roadworks in Somerset. This can be challenging, particularly in growing urban areas like Yeovil where huge amounts of development are taking place. Every new development requires access, power, heating, water, sewerage, phones, broadband etc, and this means many sets of roadworks. In addition to this are highway improvement schemes linked to development, such as the recent upgrade of the Lyde Road/Sherborne Road junction.
We also have to repair and maintain our highways – essential work such as resurfacing, or the recent drainage scheme on Sherborne Road. There is also demand from utility firms to maintain and upgrade their services under the road. This can be planned or emergency works, such as 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.

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.

Q. Why are you not working at night?
A. Alun Griffiths: Resurfacing works are scheduled to be undertaken at night, and we are considering undertaking some drainage elements and tree removal at night. There are significant safety issues for our workforce in doing trenching work in amongst utility pipes and cables at night. Shadows from tower lights can be hazardous so we prefer not to work at night. There also is the issue of disturbance to residents as the ambient noise levels drop after midnight and sound of machinery can be carried further. We try to be considerate to all during the project. This also includes our workforce.

Q. Why has work not started in line with the dates given on the newsletter?
A. AG: It has. Work is underway and we are in the process of proving the position of existing services under the highway. This work is being undertaken without significant Traffic Management, which minimises the impact on commuters. We have also been setting out our compound at the junction of Lysander Road and Watercombe Lane. Utility works are also underway (please see Latest News section at top of this page)

Q. When will we see Traffic Management and what impact can we expect on traffic?
A. AG: For details of utility works already underway, please see the Latest News section at the top of this page. We do not envisage having to use temporary traffic lights until after Christmas. To minimise disruption to road users at the Bluebell roundabout, the published highways drainage solution has been reviewed and adjustments make for upcoming works in this area. Further details of the works programme will be published on the website under Works Update and through monthly newsletters, circulated electronically to Parish Councils and businesses via links through the Yeovil Chamber of Trade. We will always seek to minimise Traffic Disruption but at times Traffic Lights will be required to manage traffic flows as we complete the works programme.

Q. What hours will the contractor be working?
A. AG: The general hours of work are 7.30am until 5.30pm on Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. We have a daily briefing with the Works Manager at 7.30am, so no large machinery should start on site until 8am. We are heavily reliant on natural light so during winter months we may have to finish when it gets dark for safety reasons.

Q. Are there any speed limits proposed to change during the work and after?
A. Somerset County Council: Yes, temporary speed limits may be required during construction and these will be clearly signposted. Once work is complete, it is proposed to reduce the speed limit on Western Avenue from 40mph to 30mph and also reduce the de-restricted area of Western Way, including Bunford Hollow, to 40mph (ie between West Coker Rd and Cartgate link). These plans have not yet been formalised and are subject to the usual processes.

Q. What is happening about speed reduction work planned to take place in Stourton Way?
A. SCC: There are plans for traffic calming in Stourton Way as part of a separate Small Improvement Scheme. This is set to include raised tables at the zebra crossings and a series of traffic islands with speed cushions. Detailed design work is underway and once approved we would be looking to start construction in mid-2018, with work carefully co-ordinated around the wider Western Corridor scheme to minimise disruption.

Q. Why is the programme for the Preston Road Roundabout taking so long?
A. Both: The programme for this section of work has been extended to minimise the use of four-way temporary traffic lights. This means work will be limited to one corner of the roundabout at a time which lengthens the scheme but should help to minimise the overall disruption to motorists.

Q. Are there any further details of the Asda Exit onto Bluebell Roundabout?
A. SCC: This is currently in negotiation with Asda but we hope this work can take place as part of improvements to the Preston Road Roundabout which are programmed to start in April 2018.

Q. What is happening on Thorne Lane? Will this road need to close?
A. SCC: Thorne Lane will be closed for eight weeks from 8 January so Wessex Water can carry out water main replacement work. Developer works to connect a new roundabout on Thorne Lane will also take place while the road is closed. These works are not part of the Western Corridor scheme but have been planned to avoid a direct clash. Find out more on Wessex Water’s website

Stay up to date

Check the latest on the roads by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter, or check out the live travel information on this website.

You can find details of the programme here

A dedicated email address Yeovil@alungriffiths.co.uk has been created if you wish to contact the contractor. This will be monitored by Public Liaison Officer Rosemarie Harrod who can also be contacted on 0330 041 2184.

You can also follow the contractor on Twitter @AlunGriffiths_