Marking the opening of the Tropiquaria Roundabout are, from left, Steve Gardner of Aggregate Industries, project manager Lucy Holt of EDF Energy, scheme designer Richard Brown of Royal Haskoning, Wayne Hobbs of Somerset County Council, Tim Martin of Aggregate Industries, Cllr David Fothergill of Somerset County Council, Michelle Cusack Somerset County Council’s director of highways and Cllrs David Westcott and Chris Morgan of West Somerset Council
THE A39 by Tropiquaria Zoo has been fully re-opened in time for Dunster by Candlelight this Friday and Saturday (December 4-5) after work on the new roundabout at Washford Cross was completed last week.
EDF Energy worked in partnership with Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council and contractors Aggregate Industries to design and construct the roundabout.
Tropiquaria Roundabout, which replaces a crossroads linking the A39 and B3190, will make the busy junction safer. It forms part of a £16 million package of road improvements paid for by EDF Energy to provide a permanent lasting legacy from the Hinkley Point C development.
It will also serve a new EDF Energy park and ride facility which will be built to the west of Williton in a former lorry park off the B3190. The park and ride will be used by workers travelling from the south and west of the Hinkley Point C construction site.
Lucy Holt, EDF Energy's project manager for the roundabout scheme, said she was grateful for the support and understanding of local people during the roundabout’s construction.
She said: “We worked with nearby traders, including Tropiquaria Zoo, and local councillors to try and minimise disruption and planned the works carefully to ensure the main A39 remained open throughout.
“We appreciate the work did cause some inconvenience but hopefully people will appreciate the long-term benefits of making the A39 permanently safer.”
EDF Energy has made significant investment in local road improvements to minimise the impact of the Hinkley Point C project on local road users.
The majority of workers will use dedicated local bus services and project park and rides to get to work, such as the one near Williton. The Williton park and ride will only be in operation during the Hinkley Point C construction period.
Leader of West Somerset Council, Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, said: “I am delighted that the roundabout has been completed and will be open in time for one of the biggest events in West Somerset’s calendar – Dunster by Candlelight.
“The new Tropiquaria Roundabout will greatly improve safety at this very busy junction and I am sure will be welcomed by our community. The roundabout looks excellent and I would like to thank EDF Energy and their contractors for a job well done. We look forward to the impending remobilisation of the Hinkley Point C project and the construction of the park and ride site which will help minimise traffic from the project in this part of our district.
“Residents and local businesses have been very patient throughout the duration of the construction and, on behalf of West Somerset Council, I would like to thank them. I do hope that the improved access will encourage people to visit Tropiquaria and all that Watchet has to offer, they are such important assets within our economy.”
As well as the Washford Cross roundabout, EDF Energy is also investing in a new bypass in Cannington and road improvements in Bridgwater and villages surrounding the Hinkley Point C site, including a horse crossing at Farringdon Hill Lane and works at Sandford Corner.
A new roundabout at Washford Cross was one of the highways priorities highlighted by West Somerset residents and local councillors.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The completion of this roundabout now means that a further piece of infrastructure is in place prior to the main work recommencing on the Hinkley Point C site and will address long standing community concerns regarding safety at this busy junction.
“I am also pleased that the roundabout will now be open in time for the popular annual event, Dunster by Candlelight.”