The Toneway Corridor in Taunton, which includes the junctions at Creech Castle, Obridge and Heron Gate, provides the key highway connection from the east between the A38, A358, A303, the M5 (Junction 25) and Taunton town centre.
The project area
Funding for major transport schemes is provided in large part through the Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal Funding. The process for accessing this funding involves 3 stages:
Stage 1: Secure, in principal, support for the scheme.
Stage 2: Demonstrate value for money, deliverability and set out the strategic case for the scheme. This allows the independent technical assessment team to provide guidance to the Local Enterprise Partnership around the acceptability of the scheme. This stage requires the promoter (SCC) to carry out analysis around the engineering feasibility, the economic benefits, environmental and social impacts, the procurement options, the project management and undertake community engagement.
Stage 3: Full business case requires the scheme to be ready for construction, having secured planning permission (where necessary), carried out detailed design and engaged contractors through a robust procurement process.
The scheme proposes junction improvements to Creech Castle, Obridge roundabout and Heron Gate roundabout. The scheme will deliver highway capacity improvements along the length of the corridor. As part of these works, improved crossing facilities will be introduced at the Creech Castle junction that will reduce severance between communities to the north and south.
The corridor will be addressed in phases with the first phase focussing on the Creech Castle junction.
Why we are doing this
These junctions currently serve existing employment sites and suffer from high levels of congestion at peak times. Over the next 15 years, significant levels of employment, retail and residential development are proposed - as well as urban extensions at Monkton Heathfield to the east of Taunton and potentially at Comeytrowe to the south west of Taunton. This corridor is congested and without intervention this will act as a constraint on future growth.
The Creech Castle, Obridge and Heron Gate junction improvements are critical to being able to cope with the additional traffic produced by Taunton's planned housing and business development growth.
We were successful in securing a provisional fund allocation as part of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal. This funding will help deliver phase 1 of the overall Toneway corridor.
Phase 1 will be a major junction enhancement at Creech Castle. We are undertaking the necessary scheme development work and traffic modelling to assess scheme options before consulting with the public and businesses.
Throughout October 2018 we will be consulting on the Creech Castle proposals (www.somersetconsults.org.uk) and will be submitting a business case to the Transport Board of the Local Enterprise Partnership for approval. Following this further work is required to finalise the detailed design and initiate construction which is hoped to start in late 2019.
There are other significant highway projects being progressed close to the Toneway Corridor. These include improvements at Junction 25 of the M5, to be delivered by us and the Highways England proposals for dualling the A358 past Henlade.
These projects are being delivered independently of the Toneway Corridor, but once delivered the projects will combine to provide extensive highway improvements which will support housing and economic growth in Taunton.