TAUNTON Deane MP Jeremy Browne is calling on Somerset County Council to take urgent steps to tackle severe traffic congestion in Taunton.

The County Gazette carried a two-page report on the frustrations of commuters struggling to make their way around the town due to a series of roadworks.

Mr Browne said: “Traffic congestion in Taunton is always bad, but in recent weeks it has got even worse.

“The town’s completely gridlocked at peak times.

“The congestion’s really frustrating for motorists and it’s terrible for local businesses.

“The traffic problem in Taunton urgently needs to be addressed. It’s wasting the time of local residents as well as harming the reputation and business prospects of the town.

“Somerset County Council is responsible for the road system in Taunton and it needs an urgent action plan to tackle traffic congestion in Taunton.

“They should also work closely with Taunton Deane Council to make sure the plan to tackle congestion is properly thought through.

“The multiple roadworks around Taunton are causing chaos and the phasing of traffic lights at some junctions is causing extra problems.

“Too much time’s being taken to complete the Northern Inner Distributor Road section at the end of Priory Bridge Road.

“Nobody’s expecting a total solution to all traffic congestion – there are a lot of cars on the roads and some delays are inevitable – but the extent of the traffic gridlock in Taunton has now become unacceptable and it’s damaging the town.”

Work on the Northern Inner Distributor Road is “going well”, according to a county council spokesman.

Once completed it will link Staplegrove Road at the junction with Chip Lane to Priory Avenue via Firepool, cutting congestion in the town centre and opening up the Firepool site for a development of homes, shops and leisure facilities.

Referring to the current gridlock, the spokesman said: “We continue to monitor junctions and traffic movement around the town, and make alterations to ease congestion when possible.”

He said most of the current traffic jams are as a result of the Wessex Water works.

Wessex has acknowledged its current work is in a busy part of town and asked for patience while it completes the work “as quickly as possible”.