Somerset Council’s Structures Team is carrying out essential work on the B3224 on Exmoor to stabilise a collapsed embankment in the new year.
The damage at Roundwaters between Exford and Wheddon Cross was caused by a falling tree during bad weather just over two years ago and has meant a lane closure and temporary traffic lights have been needed since. This is because the severity of the damage requires a significant scheme to repair the embankment.
In October, advanced preparatory works were carried out which included some vegetation removal, to enable this long-awaited scheme to start in the new year.
A full road closure is needed to carry out the work – this will be in place from Tuesday 2 January to Friday 10 May. Unfortunately, the road will be closed at all times during this period; but this is so the work can be completed as swiftly and as safely as possible.
Openreach is being granted access to the site in the first week to carry out overhead cable realignment works, which avoids the need for a further closure before the main works commence.
A full closure is needed for the safety of the workforce and public. The scheme requires a piling plant which will take up a significant width of the road and once the embankment is stabilised new drainage will be installed, and the carriageway resurfaced. It is not possible to open the road outside of working hours. The team cannot undertake night working once the scheme commences, as the site is in close proximity to a Special Area of Conservation – there are protected bat populations in the area.
There is a public meeting organised for 29 November at 7.30pm at the Moorland Hall, Cutcombe, TA24 7DL. A presentation on the scheme will be delivered by representatives from Somerset Council, scheme designers WSP and scheme contractor Walters Group ahead of a question-and-answer session.
Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset Council’s Executive Lead Member for Transport and Digital said:
The embankment repair at Roundwaters is a critically important piece of work; those who live locally or use the route regularly will be familiar with the situation. We’re really pleased to have appointed a contractor and to be able to get this done.
We know this will run over the Easter break but on balance this was preferable to commencing before the Christmas period and potentially having an impact then.
We thank everyone in the area in advance for their patience as the work needs more than a short-term road closure – but in turn the scheme will be of immense long-term benefit to everyone once it is completed as it will restore the embankment structure and mean temporary lights and the resulting delay to drivers are finally removed.
Access for residents and businesses in the immediate area will be maintained throughout and a diversion will be in place, with full details available nearer the time on Roadworks and travel information page.
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