RESIDENTS in Ruishton feared they faced 240 days of road closures with no traffic support after being ‘dismissed’ by the council.

Confusion started as a closure order on Somerset County Council’s website stated a section of Ruishton Lane was set to be closed.

The order gives permission for work to take place anytime for 18 months, starting on July 30.

It added work was expected to take 240 days.

But it has since been clarified that the first batch of works will take place over five weeks, starting in August.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “As part of the M5 Junction 25 capacity improvement works, our contractor Alun Griffiths has been working hard over the last few months to complete as much work on the live carriageway as possible while traffic flows have been lighter to reduce disruption to the public.

“There has been significant progress in the park and ride area as well as around the Junction 25 gyratory.

“The next phase of this work will be to temporarily close Ruishton Lane at the junction where it meets the A358. This is essential to allow us to carry out work on the water main as well as starting to remodel the junction.

“Ruishton Lane junction will therefore be closed in both directions from August 4 for a period of five weeks.

“In order to avoid as much disruption as possible, this is being done in the school holidays when traffic volumes are consistently lower and children are not travelling to school.”

Ruishton residents and representatives from the parish council have expressed concern about the levels of traffic the closure will cause, and they fear for motorists and cyclists trying to join the A358 at the junction with Lipe Lane.

They requested traffic controls be put in place.

Mike Marshall, vice chairman of Ruishton Parish Council, said: “The dismissal by Alun Griffiths and the highway authority of our concerns and the concerns of the parishioners in such a curt manner without a comprehensive explanation for their decision, I find totally unacceptable.”

And it has also come to light that the residents will need to go through the closure again later in the project.

The SCC spokesperson added: “From early September Ruishton Lane will be re-opened to traffic. It will not be closed again until later in the project when the new link road is opened and the junction will be remodelled.

“As with all the temporary measures we have introduced, we will be continually monitoring the traffic management, both at Junction 25 and across the rest of the network, and will act accordingly to prioritise traffic flows and public safety. We thank the public for their co-operation and understanding whilst we carry out this important work.”

County councillor for the area, John Thorne, said he was disappointed the council hadn’t listened to the request to install traffic controls on the ‘horrendous’ junction.

He said: “I have asked for temporary traffic controls to be used at the junction of Lipe Lane/A358 on both occasions because experience shows that most diverted traffic is likely to use that route as an alternative and I know how difficult it is to try to pull out onto the A358 at peak travel times because it is so busy.

“It can be horrendous trying to get out of that junction and quite often you have to rely on somebody being nice and creating a gap for you to pull into.

“I was disappointed the highways people say only that they will ‘keep it under review’ and will monitor where traffic diverts and respond if a problem arises or if there is a safety issue. They are reluctant to commit to traffic controls because of concern that it could lead to even more traffic using the route as a rat run because drivers realise it will be quicker.”

Cllr Thorne added that ‘poor communication’ had caused ‘unnecessary alarm’ to the surrounding committees.