TAUNTON’S roads are the responsibility of the Highways Authority – Somerset County Council.

One of their key jobs is to ensure that necessary roadworks are planned and managed to cause minimum disruption.

The current gridlock is caused solely because Somerset Highways have failed to do their job, allowing multiple works across the town and on key access roads at the same time, tipping congestion into gridlock.

I agree that opening East Street, at least temporarily, could ease the problems in one part of the town.

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The county council, as Highways Authority, could have taken this action already, had they wished.

Instead the leader, Councillor Fothergill, has chosen to pass the buck to another council (who were partners in the initial decision to close East Street to traffic for an experimental period), presumably to use political point-scoring to deflect attention from his own council’s failure.

This crisis is not caused by a spat between two councils.

Make no mistake, re-opening East Reach might ease but cannot solve the gridlock caused entirely by Somerset County Council’s incompetence.

We need to know why they failed and how this chaos can be prevented in future.

I should add that I am not criticising officers, who are dealing with the cuts imposed by their political leaders.

They must take responsibility.