AN £8MILLION traffic-busting relief road project for Bridgwater could finally begin within weeks - with permission being sought to build a vital bridge for the scheme.

The Colley Lane Southern Access Road plan involves building a new access road into the Colley Lane Industrial Estate from the south. Part of this includes building a new bridge over the River Parrett.

The huge scheme, which is designed to stop major hold-ups on the A38 Taunton Road and Broadway, has been on the cards for a decade but has been hit by delays while the details, including complex land negotiations, are ironed out.

However Somerset County council has now put in an application to the Marine Management Organisation for a marine licence to start building the bridge to cross the River Parrett which is part of the project.

And preparation work for the scheme is expected to start in October – seven years behind the original timetable.

Cllr David Hall, a Bridgwater county councillor and the authority’s deputy leader, welcomed the news that progress was finally being made.

He said: “A lot of people are keen for this scheme to happen as it would certainly help the traffic situation in Bridgwater. This is just the start of big things to come for Bridgwater.”

Alan Hurford, clerk to Bridgwater Town Council, said: “This scheme is much needed to help with the start of the traffic to Hinkley Point.

“The news of the bridge application is a positive move in the right direction for a project that is essential to Bridgwater.”

The county council says the Bridgwater Transport Study identifies the Colley Lane Southern Access Road as being of primary importance to the re-routing of traffic in Bridgwater so it can bypass the A38 and go straight to junction 24 of the M5.

As well as the bridge over the River Parrett the huge scheme involves building a new bridge over the Bridgwater and Taun-ton Canal and a new roundabout at the Showground Road / Marsh Lane junction.

Also a total of 840 metres of new carriageway will be built and some 100 metres of existing road will be widened.

There will also be four junctions provided which will include right turning lanes, where appropriate, to maintain/enhance existing access.

Cash for the project is coming from developer contributions.