Go ahead for multi-million pound road improvements

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A MULTI-MILLION pound roads contract, to cut congestion and free up housing and employment land in Yeovil, has been approved by Somerset County Council.

The Western Corridor Scheme is a package of improvements to increase the capacity of key junctions and upgrade facilities for pedestrians and cyclists along the western side of the town – and it is believed it could provide economic benefits of more than £100million.

It will also support the delivery of more than 1,500 homes and 20 hectares of employment land nearby. Somerset County Council’s decision to appoint a contractor follows the completion of an extensive procurement process.

The contract will be signed once the mandatory standstill period ends on April 24th (to give unsuccessful bidders a chance to seek remedies should they be dissatisfied with the procurement process).

Until this point, the successful contractor and contract price cannot be published, although the scheme will be built within the £16million funding available which includes contingencies.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “This key decision to award a contract is a significant step forward for a very significant scheme to improve traffic flow and unlock land for housing and employment in Yeovil.

“We hope to soon be moving into the delivery phase and will be working with the new contractor to draw up detailed plans. We look forward to sharing these with the local community as soon as we can.

“Economic modelling shows that congestion times could be reduced by more than a third on future traffic predictions and that will contribute to delivering £123million in economic benefits.”

A spokesperson for South Somerset District Council added: “Anyone who has a need to travel on the western side of Yeovil knows that traffic congestion is an everyday event and steadily growing at peak times.

“We are delighted that the green light is now on for those much needed improvements which should make a major contribution to improving traffic flows.

“The Cartgate link is the main artery to the west of the town and the planned junction improvements will undoubtedly help.

“Despite the inevitable disruption whilst the work is undertaken, the end result has to be worth the short term pain. Yeovil desperately needs this infrastructure improvement and getting the work started is a high priority.”

The Western Corridor 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, Westland Roundabout, Bluebell Roundabout, Preston Road roundabout and Copse Road junction, as well as improved links for pedestrians and cyclists across the area.

The improvements are being funded by developer contributions and a £6.4million grant successfully secured from the Local Enterprise Partnership local growth fund, with the remainder of scheme costs being funded by Somerset County Council.

Construction is expected to begin in June.

Further details and plans about the Western Corridor scheme can be found at http://bit.ly/2oCwPF7

Chief Reporter | Started his working life on a farm before becoming a screen printer, both in Sweden. Had another career change and turned to journalism in the mid1990s. Enjoyed an internship with Alexandria Gazette Packet, Va, USA, before moving to the UK. Got a job with The Clarion in Yeovil in 1998, but moved to Axminster in 2006 and has worked on the East Devon beat since.

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