Park & Ride for free!
Taunton’s park and ride service will be made free of charge as part of a special initiative by Somerset County Council to encourage use of the park and ride service and, minimise disruption during a major upgrade of the Creech Castle junction.
The £8.3m project was deferred last year because of the pandemic, now work is about to begin on these much-needed improvements for one of Taunton’s busiest junctions. The scheme, which starts on Monday 9 August and is due for completion in summer 2022, requires the A38 Bridgwater Road on the north side of the junction to be closed to all traffic for the duration of the works and a diversion will be in place using the new Western Relief Road.
This will have an impact for everyone travelling around Taunton, so the Council has taken the decision to provide the park and ride service at both sites for free from 9 August until further notice, subject to review.
This will include a Saturday service from 14 August.
Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their support and patience during what is a period of significant change for the town’s road infrastructure.
“Doing nothing isn’t an option as Taunton continues to grow and the upgrade at Creech Castle follows the key improvements at Junction 25, and the newly opened Western Relief Road.
“We fully understand this will be a very challenging scheme to deliver and want to do what we can to minimise the disruption.
“We hope making the park and ride free will help make life a little bit easier for everyone travelling around the town and encourage people to keep visiting while this vital work is carried out.”
The scheme at Creech Castle includes road widening and requires very significant works activities with heavy machinery and excavations in the road. Therefore, in order to keep both the workforce and travelling public safe it is necessary to close Bridgwater Road north of the junction. This will affect vehicles but not pedestrians or cyclists who will have access throughout.
There will also be no right turn into Bridgwater Road south of the junction. This will be a permanent change starting from August 9.
Other alternatives were carefully considered – including the use of temporary multi-way traffic lights instead of a road closure – but these were projected to cause much more severe disruption with long queues on the Toneway, potentially impacting on the M5.
“We know this is going to be difficult for those living in the immediate area and we’re incredibly grateful to residents and businesses for their understanding and willingness to work with us during this time,” said Cllr Fothergill.
“Our teams will be liaising with residents and business owners closely throughout to ensure they are well-supported and can register and resolve any issues swiftly.”
Residents and businesses and those wishing to access the supermarket and other premises will continue to have access to the A38 although this will need be from the north. Those accessing premises south of the railway bridge such as the Creech Castle Business Centre, including the Taunton Dialysis Centre, will need to do so from Toneway.