U-turn over temporary road closure

PUBLISHED: 15:27 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 15:28 28 March 2013

Dunkeswell resident concerned over “ridiculous” diversions in Dunkeswell.

A Dunkeswell resident has raised concerns over the “ridiculous” diversions being introduced while temporary road closures are in place.

Barry Hughes of Mill Lane says the diversion routes will cut off access for residents to and from Honiton during the temporary road closure at Dunkeswell Bridge between Percy Cross and Dunkeswell Old Village.

The closure is expected to last for six weeks during April-May and was due to start on Tuesday, April 2.

Mr Hughes said: “This means that the old village and airfield will be virtually cut off for access to and from Honiton, and the proposed diversion is some 20 miles via Uffculme, Willand and Cullompton.

“Apart from approximately 300 residents that live in the old village there are a considerable number of businesses on the airfield that employ hundreds of workers – and expecting all these to go via Cullompton to get to and from Honiton is ridiculous.”

He added: “The last time this road was closed local traffic used a very small single-track road for access which is approximately 500 metres long and it was chaotic.

“The road is entirely unsuitable for any volume of traffic as there are no passing places apart from those on private land, and previously the Highways Authority had to compensate the local residents whose properties were damaged.

“The local residents realise that if the bridge is structurally unsafe it needs repairing, but there must be an alternative to shutting it for six weeks and at the very least some mechanism for controlling the traffic.”

A Devon County Council spokesman told the Midweek Herald that the road closure has been postponed to allow for further counsultation to take place.

He said: “The proposed work is essential to strengthen the existing bridge and its foundations. Although work is being planned to minimise disruption as much as possible it cannot take place safely without a road closure, which unfortunately requires a lengthy diversion for large and heavy vehicles.

“A closure for up to six weeks is anticipated and work is continuing to minimise possible disruption during that period for local traffic around Dunkeswell.

The spokesman added: “Consultations have already been held with the emergency services and they have planned for the closure.

“Alternative transport arrangements to maintain bus services and a temporary pedestrian footbridge is also being provided at the site.

“To allow for further consultation with the parish council, residents and local businesses it has been decided to postpone the works to ensure that all concerns are addressed.”

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