A NEW cycle route in Yeovil that the local council pledged would be built within five weeks now won’t be finished until Christmas.

Somerset Council announced in mid-September that it would be delivering a new cycle route along Lyde Road on the town’s eastern edge, initially stretching between Sandringham Road and Camborne Street, near Yeovil Pen Mill railway station.

The council originally estimated that the work would take “about five weeks to complete”, meaning the project would be open to cyclists and pedestrians by the end of October.

But officers have now confirmed that completing this first phase of the new route has been held up by “unexpected complications” involving utilities.

The first phase of the route will now be finished just before the end of the year – with the timing of the second phase yet to be confirmed.

A spokesman said: “We hope to complete this phase of the scheme by Christmas, providing we can secure the space on the road to continue work.

“Unfortunately, the team experienced a number of unexpected complications involving utility connections, and in addition had to vacate the site in October to allow for other essential utility  works to take place.

“We are looking to recommence work as soon as possible.”

The route will eventually cover the entire length of Lyde Road, with the second phase intending to run as far as the Great Mead roundabout, which forms the entrance to the Wyndham Park housing estate.

An additional short section of cycle path at the northern end of Lyde Road could be delivered as part of an upgrade of the junction with the A359 Mudford Road, funded by Barratt Homes.

The route is being delivered as part of the Yeovil local cycling and walking and infrastructure plan (LCWIP), which identifies where new and improved active travel routes can be delivered through council funding, external grants or new housing developments.

Councillor Mike Rigby, portfolio holder for transport and digital, stated in September: “This is a really positive development for Yeovil – it’s going to give
people more choice about how they get around, and it’s part of making Somerset a greener, more sustainable county.

“Improving cycling and walking infrastructure is important not just for the environment, as we try to encourage people out of their cars for short journeys, but for people’s health and well-being. It’s also crucial in reducing congestion.”

The council has not confirmed the overall cost of the Lyde Road cycle project; however, it has stated that the delayed delivery of phase one will be carried out at no additional cost to taxpayers.