FRUSTRATED motorists and businesses in Bridgwater are losing patience over a major relief road scheme which is now five years behind schedule.
Somerset County Council revealed this week that work on the long-awaited Colley Lane Southern Access Road - meant to take the strain off Taunton Road by providing a link from the south of Bridgwater to the Colley Lane industrial estate - will not begin until next April and will not be finished until late 2014.
The project has been beset by delays over the past decade.
In 2006, The Mercury reported that work was due to begin the next year and could be finished by 2009.
By 2008, with funding finally secured, we were reporting that the road could be completed by 2011.
The county council's own website was reporting this week that the project would start in November, but yesterday (Monday), the Mercury was told it would not begin until next spring.
Allan Cook, owner of Colley Lane Truck and Bus, said: “There is a lot of congestion at the moment and it will be a huge relief when this road is built. It would benefit everyone in the town and it really needs to be done.”
Kevin Toms, from U Save Motorcycle Tyres, added: “Congestion in Bridgwater has got a lot worse and we need relief roads. Traffic in Bridgwater drives you mental.”
Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said: “This road is vital to the town and its economy, and these delays are frustrating beyond belief.”
A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “There was a delay in the issuing of the original planning certificate because of some procedural issues, and another by negotiations over land included in the scheme because of a change in ownership.
“These have meant a delay to construction, which is now expected to begin in April next year, subject to satisfactory completion of the remaining statutory procedures.”