BELEAGUERED motorists fear the gridlock on Bridgwater's roads is a sign of things to come if the new Hinkley Point power station is approved.

The Mercury has been inundated with calls this week about severe delays caused by temporary traffic lights at the junction of the B3339 Sandford Hill and Quantock Road, as part of Wessex Water's £10million Operation Clean and Clear project.

Several motorists travelling to and from Bridgwater along the A39 told the Mercury about huge delays to their journeys last week.

Hinkley Point worker Heather Kennedy, from Bridge Estate in Bridgwater, and Marcus Wade from Combwich, were both caught up in the gridlock.

Mr Wade said the current works offered an ominous sign of things to come if Hinkley C is approved.

He said: “There is only one road out of villages like Combwich and unless another one is built we are basically going to be stranded.”

Maurice Locke, chairman of Cannington Parish Council, held similar fears for his village, and renewed calls for a Bridgwater bypass from Dunball to Hinkley Point, which EDF Energy has ruled out as too costly and time consuming.

Mr Locke described the current situation on the roads as utter chaos.

The gridlock on Bridgwater's roads could get worse from tomorrow (Wednesday) when St John Street closes for four weeks between Cranleigh Gardens and Westonzoyland Road, so Wessex Water can reline a water main.

Davin Eversett, project manager, said several people had contacted Wessex Water about the work in the past few weeks.

He said: “One person said we should instead use traffic lights on St John Street as opposed to closing it. However, this would cause traffic gridlock affecting the central areas of the town and would mean the work would take an additional ten weeks, which wouldn't have been welcomed by local residents.”

Wessex Water has written to thousands of homeowners to make them aware that work to upgrade the town's water distribution mains will return to North Street from February 19 to March 6.

The road will be partially closed and the entrance of Alexandra Road will be closed at the roundabout.

Mr Eversett added: “Access to properties and businesses will be maintained throughout the work which we hope to complete in two weeks.”