WORK on the A39 cycleway scheme in West Somerset has been halted with immediate effect after public complaints.

Last week, the council brought in new measures to help limit disruption  for the public and tourists on the road.

A Somerset Council spokesperson said: “We are pausing these works with immediate effect until we can resolve some traffic management issues.

“As soon as we have established a programme which reduces the impact on traffic to an acceptable level we will complete the scheme.

“We will update you as soon as possible.”

A local MP has welcomed the decision to halt disruptive roadworks between Dunster and Minehead.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Bridgwater and West Somerset MP said the move represents a large dose of common sense.

“I can only apologise to the thousands of people who have been adversely affected by this project.

“Even accepting it was necessary at all - which I don’t - it has been an exercise in how not to organise a road scheme.

“There was an excellent opportunity to use the old A39 to carry one line of traffic past the site but instead the contractors blocked it with their equipment."

He added, arrangements for restarting the £1 million project would need to be very carefully managed if traffic chaos were not to return.

“If and when this project restarts we shall need to come at it from a totally different direction, putting the needs of drivers and the travelling public first and finding ways to work around them."

Mr Liddell-Grainger claims to have made regular approaches to the county council asking for better traffic management.

“Instead of blitzing the project with a big workforce the contractors employed a handful of men. There was no thought given to night-time working, to the fact that this is the only route into Minehead from the east, or indeed to the needs of the travelling public.

“As a result not only local people but tourists have been grossly inconvenienced, as have delivery drivers and bus passengers, and there is no doubt that there has been an impact on Minehead’s economy."

The Council will provide further updates as and when the decision to go ahead with the works is made.