Published: May 11, 2012
Council apology for 47 mile diversion around Highbridge roadworks

Somerset County Council has issued an apology to motorists after putting in place a 47-mile diversion route around a small patch of roadworks in the centre of Highbridge. first reported here that "the UK's longest diversion route" is to be put in place while a short 680 metre stretch of Church Street is closed on eight evenings from Monday May 14th for resurfacing.

Somerset County Council's 47.1 mile diversion route has baffled local residents since it directs motorists on a huge journey taking almost two hours, passing through Pawlett, Glastonbury, Wells, Rodney Stoke, Axbridge and East Brent.

County Council spokeswoman Elizabeth Kulh told "We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused but it is only for a short period and only affects the few."

"Because of narrow roads and weak bridges, we can't send lorries down rural roads. The law requires that we need to divert traffic on like-for-like roads i.e. an A road for an A road, B for B."

"The Highways Agency won't allow diversion signs on the motorway but those drivers with Sat Nav will be using the M5 such as lorries and heavy traffic."

"Local people will probably find their own solutions. The diversion is really for those few motorists that cannot use the motorway."

"The resurfacing work is in the evenings and excludes weekends so will only affect evening drivers during the week. The work has been timed to avoid the majority of traffic and peak times."

Town councillor Phil Harvey, pictured holding the diversion map, told "This has to qualify as the UK's longest-ever diversion route. It is just laughable that Somerset County Council really expects motorists to drive almost 50 miles across the region to avoid a few hundred metres of road here! There are plenty of shorter, more sensible, local routes to take."

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