A39 Walton and Ashcott bypass is given the go-ahead

  Posted: 13.03.20 at 09:47 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter

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One of the key arterial routes in the Street area will benefit from a new bypass following the government’s budget.

Somerset councillors submitted proposals to the Department for Transport (DfT) in July 2019 for a new bypass on the A39 around Ashcott and Walton.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sinak MP gave the go-ahead in principle to the new bypass when he delivered his budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday (March 11).

Somerset County Council has welcomed the news, and said it will now begin work on a detailed business case.

If all goes to plan, the new road could be open by 2025 – but there are plenty more hoops to jump through before spades can go into the ground.

The scheme was one of two put forward by the county council through the Peninsula Transport Shadow Sub-National Transport Body, which brings together all local authorities in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

The other scheme – designed to fix pinch points between the A361 at Pilton and the A39 at Glastonbury – was pulled in late-February due to a perceived lack of “community and political support”.

The A39 is one of the main freight routes through Somerset, as well as being a major commuter route for Bridgwater via Junction 23 of the M5.

The stretch of road in question also includes the difficult Pipers Inn junction with the A361, which leads to Taunton via the growing Monkton Heathfield development.

The bypass would run for four miles around both Walton and Ashcott, removing 95 per cent of the traffic from the main road.

The scheme was estimated in March 2019 to cost in the region of £90 million, with construction aiming to begin by 2023.

Councillor David Hall, cabinet member for economic development, planning and community infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to have received confirmation that the A39 Walton/Ashcott Bypass scheme has progressed to the next stage of development.

“This is an in-principle decision and means we can begin the important work of preparing a detailed business case.

“This will include developing an options report to consider possible routes, along with public consultation to help establish a preferred route.

“If the business case is successful, in due course we will progress the detailed preparatory work, such as seeking planning consent and entering land discussions.”

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