WORK to improve a junction in a busy Taunton street caused massive traffic problems yesterday - and are set to continue, prompting fury from many in the County Town.

Businesses and individuals in the town reacted furiously to the work, which saw long tailbacks across the town centre.

The work is part of a 'residential development' and involves installing a dedicated right-turn lane at the junction of Billetfield and Paul Street, according to Somerset County Council.

It is believed the residential development in question is the Quantock House redevelopment, which is being undertaken by the AHH Group (Affordable Housing and Healthcare Group).

The works mean lane closures are in place on all approaches to the Paul Street junction, which is controlled by traffic lights, causing long delays across the town centre throughout Monday (April 26).

Buses will today not run in East Reach, according to operator Buses of Somerset, due to the congestion.

The firm tweeted: "We are unable to operate along East reach in either direction due to the disruption caused by roadworks."

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Traders and residents reacted badly to the delays yesterday, including on social media.

John Wrelton, a managing partner at estate agent Wilkie, May & Tuckwood, tweeted: "The traffic is now unbearable, we need an immediate solution to this stupidity. The south and east side of the town is gridlocked."

Lizzie Biggs, who owns the Making Life Easier mobility store in The Mount, said the move felt like 'a kick in the teeth'.

"I just can’t understand how it makes sense to close our town? People just won’t bother to come in," she tweeted.

A tweet from Somerset County Council urging people to find 'an alternative route' was greeted with derision, as all routes across the town centre were facing delays.

"We understand these works are causing significant delays," the council said.

Twitter user Maria O'Sullivan said: "Just when retailers can open up? Who on earth thought that was a good idea?"

Somerset County Gazette:

Meanwhile, leader of Somerset County Council, David Fothergill, has come out in support of re-opening East Street for the 'duration of the works'.

The road was closed during the first lockdown to enable shoppers to socially distance.

Now, many are calling for it to be re-opened to give some relief for traffic moving through the town.

And Cllr Fothergill has given his support to the plan, tweeting: "Fully support reopening of East St for duration of Paul St roadworks. Needs (Somerset West and Taunton Council) agreement though."

We will keep you updated.