42-mile detour to avoid 50-metre roadworks 'ridiculous'

Lower Weare, Somerset Image copyright Google
Image caption A 54 yard stretch of the A38 Turnpike Road near Lower Weare is due to shut for two nights from 3 March

Plans to send motorists on a 42-mile (68km) detour to avoid 50m of roadworks have been described as "ridiculous".

Short stretches of the A38 Turnpike Road near Lower Weare are due to shut for two nights from 3 March.

A diversion of one hour 20 minutes which takes drivers via Glastonbury and Wells has been criticised by residents who claim shorter routes are available.

But the county council said it has a legal obligation to divert traffic "on to the same class road as the closure".

Sections of the A38 between Cross Moor Drove and south west of Notting Hill Way are due to be closed on Thursday and Friday between 18:30 and 23:30 GMT, for road surface repair work.

Simon Lunn, who runs a petrol station on the affected stretch of road, said the planned diversion route was "utterly ridiculous"

"They're only repairing about 50m of the road - even on local roads it would take you about 10 miles to go around," he said.

"We're closing at 6 o'clock because we just won't have any trade that evening."

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said the "essential patching work" was being done in two phases and during off-peak times to "minimise disruption".

"We have a legal obligation to publish an official diversion route which is on the same class road as the closure and is suitable for all vehicles, including HGVs," he said.

"As with any road closure, drivers are free to use their own local knowledge and judgement to seek their own alternatives."

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