A new park and ride has been officially opened by EDF Energy, just off the A38 at Dunball Roundabout, to reduce traffic to and from Hinkley Point C.
The J23 Park and Ride has parking for up to 1,500 vehicles so workers can travel to and from the Hinkley Point C site by bus.
The facility can also handle up to 85 HGVs, enabling smaller loads to be bulked into larger single loads to reduce the number of lorries delivering to the site.
David Eccles, EDF Energy’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement for Hinkley Point C, said: “One of our priorities is to minimise the number of road journeys to and from site during construction of the new power station. Our construction workers already use dedicated local bus services and existing park and ride facilities to get to work, whilst deliveries of materials and equipment are carefully managed. The temporary jetty, when complete, will also enable us to bring 80 per cent of aggregates to site by sea.”
The temporary park and ride facility site will be returned to agricultural use once the power station has been built.
It is part of a wider £20 million investment by EDF Energy into the local travel infrastructure.
The roundabout above the M5 at Junction 23 is being upgraded to better manage traffic flow and reduce congestion. Works include the installation of new traffic lights on each of the access and exit routes.
The package of works associated with the Hinkley Point C project also includes a park and ride and freight management facility at Junction 24 alongside the M5, and other park and rides near Williton in West Somerset and Cannington near Bridgwater.
Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor David Hall, who helped to officially open the new facility, said: “We are pleased to see the opening of the park and ride facility at J23; a purpose-built facility for EDF Energy workers travelling from the north of the district.
“As we continue to invest in a growing Bridgwater, we also recognise this growth means more road users.
“This facility will help to reduce peak time journeys across the town. We are working hard with EDF Energy and other developers to improve our road infrastructure, wherever possible, for the benefit of all our communities and businesses. Facilities such as this park and ride are extremely helpful in managing capacity.”
The Junction 23 park and ride was constructed by Costain and completed on time and on budget. It also includes security and welfare facilities.