Town councillors have this week called for improvements to be made to Burnham-On-Sea’s busy M5 motorway roundabout amid growing problems with queues and delays.
Major changes were made to the Edithmead roundabout’s layout and road markings earlier this year, but town councillors say these have not helped to improve traffic flows at peak times.
At the latest council meeting, they called on Somerset County Council to consider upgrading the roundabout
Cllr David Hoggarth said the problem has been particularly bad over the summer: “It’s been bonkers at certain times – it took me over half an hour one morning to drive from the Tesco roundabout to the Edithmead roundabout.”
“I think widending the B3140 on the approach to the roundabout would be sensible. The problem is not just a summer holidays issue, it’s very busy at peak commuter times too.”
Cllr Phil Harvey said “widening the road would help to improve traffic flows,” adding: “We are also keeping up the pressure on the Highways authority to upgrade the junction.”
A concerned resident, Jennifer Frazer, also spoke at the meeting, saying: “There appears to have been an increase in traffic queuing there. The issues stem from the road being too narrow at the roundabout.”
“Traffic wishing to turn right to go south on the M5 is being trapped in the longer left lane for the M5 north. This is leading to frequent incidences where drivers are foolishly driving on the wrong side of the road on the blind westbound bend to get to the right hand lane. Would it be possible to widen the B3140 in the vicinity of the roundabout?”
However, a spokesman for Somerset County Council’s highways department told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Wednesday (September 14th): “In order to carry out major improvements such as those recently completed at J24 Bridgwater or those planned for J25 Taunton, we first need to secure external funding.”
“This is increasingly difficult with growing demand from authorities across the country for reduced pots of money from Government, and it is usually linked to allowing new growth or development to take place.”
“The bidding process requires us to prove there is a need for improvements by putting together a comprehensive business case, a process which in itself takes time and costs money.”
“At this stage, Edithmead has not been identified as a priority for improvements, however, we are happy to work with the town council and local community to see if any minor measures could be carried out.”