Chaos for motorists after road closed early

Incident prompts former Honiton councillor to call the police.

Devon County Council has apologised after a section of an arterial road through East Devon was closed earlier than advertised for improvement works.

Hundreds of motorists were caught out when workmen jumped the gun and closed off part of the A30, along with slip roads, overnight on Monday last week.

The resulting chaos prompted former Honiton councillor Ken Hopkins to call police.

He was surprised to find the road had been closed 20 minutes early.

“I had seen signs, saying that the roads would be closed, a week in advance and thought I would go to work a little bit earlier to give myself plenty of time,” he said.

“I got up there and it had been coned off and closed already.”

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Mr Hopkins, who was working nights at a hospital, says the road was closed at about 7.40pm - instead of 8pm - and the closure caused chaos for local drivers as well as visiting holidaymakers with caravans.

He decided to travel on the old A30 - only to discover the slip road near the Black Horse Inn had been closed off, causing further confusion for motorists.

“I did have several cars that followed me – people didn’t know where to go,” he said. “It was frustrating, not just for me but for other motorists, especially those who didn’t know the area.”

Mr Hopkins told the Midweek Herald he was so concerned he called Devon Highways and the police to inform them of the situation. He claims, the signage put in place was inadequate and feels proper diversion routes were needed.

He asks why Broadclyst was not considered as an alternative route.

A Devon County Council spokesman said: “We apologise for the early closure of the road, which should not have occurred, and we will ensure it is not repeated. Diversion signs were located throughout the route, with additional signs in place at Daisymount, advising motorists that there is no overnight access available via the old A30, as well as extra signs at Sowton Lane stating no overnight access to the A30 over Blackhorse Bridge.”

The A30 westbound carriageway, from the Daisymount Junction to the Moor Lane roundabout, was closed overnight to allow for resurfacing, installation of signs, kerbing and for cabling work to be carried out.

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