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Turf cutting at new £22million NIDR road in Taunton
3:27pm Monday 28th October 2013 in News
WORK has officially started on building a £22million road expected to bring a massive economic boost to Taunton and reduce congestion.
It is hoped the Northern Inner Distributor Road linking Priory Avenue to Staplegrove Road at its junction with Chip Lane will unlock £270million of investment in the town.
The first turf was cut on the bank of the River Tone at Priory Park on Monday after preparatory work was started in the summer.
Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council member for highways, said: “This is such an important project for the economic future of Taunton and Somerset and it was with great pleasure that I had the chance of cutting the first ceremonial turf.
“This road will not only make travelling around Taunton much easier, but it will also create jobs and provide homes for local people.”
The NIDR will ease traffic congestion in the town centre and on Priorswood Road and provide access to the Firepool regeneration site, where there are ambitious plans for a riverside business, residential and shopping development that could create thousands of jobs and hundreds of homes.
Taunton Deane Council and Project Taunton, which is overseeing the regeneration of the town, have been closely involved in the scheme, which is being funded by £15.2m from the Government, £2.5m from Somerset County Council and £4.3m developer contributions.
Cllr John Williams, leader of the Deane council, said: “The delivery of the NIDR is the last piece of the jigsaw that will complete the picture of our ambitious central regeneration plans for central Taunton.
“We have had serious talks with investors, but turning interest into action is very much dependent on this road.
“We have resumed those conversations in the knowledge that the road is now a certainty.”
Cllr Justine Baker said: "The NIDR is a massive scheme that has been in the making for many years, to see it being constructed is exciting - people travelling to Taunton from West Somerset will be able to by-pass the town centre, meaning less traffic in the town.
"I would like to now see the town centre be pedestrianised, which was in the original plans.
"But what is important is finding out about the plans in detail so that residents can be made aware of the construction process.
"Many residents have contacted me regarding the 40 steps bridge being taken down, which I know is going to be inconvenient for many people across the area as it is used for access to work and school.
"Though there will be a few months without this bridge the new one will have a ramp, meaning that access across it will be far more easier for families with buggies, bikes and those that are disabled. "
The NIDR scheme consists of a new mile-long carriageway and realignment of 150 metres of existing carriageway; a new bridge over the River Tone and the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal; replacement of the former rail bridge over Station Road; replacement of Forty Steps footbridge over the railway line; pedestrian and cycle facilities; a roundabout at the junction of Staplegrove Road and Chip Lane; a new signal controlled access to the railway station; modifications to the existing roundabout at the junction of Priory Avenue and Priory Fields.
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