THE final stage of major roadworks to upgrade one of Yeovil’s main commuter routes will not be finished until the summer of 2019, the county council has admitted.

Work is continuing on Yeovil’s western corridor, with a number of key junctions being widened and redesigned to increase capacity and alleviate congestion.

Somerset County Council, which is responsible for highway matters, had originally intended for the entire scheme to be completed by spring 2019.

However it has had to admit that one of the seven junctions being reconfigured – the Preston Road roundabout – will not be finished until the summer.

The council has said that all other aspects of the work will be finished on schedule, but carrying out work on Preston Road on the original timetable would cause more disruption for residents and businesses.

A progress report on the scheme came before a meeting of South Somerset District Council’s area south committee in Yeovil on Wednesday afternoon (September 5).

Andy Coupé, the county council’s strategic manager for infrastructure projects, said that the complexity of the project meant that some flexibility was necessary to deliver every aspect to the highest possible standard.

He said: “Some elements have taken longer than planned, while others started early and are ahead of schedule.

“Six of the seven elements programmed are to be completed within the overall time-scale originally envisioned.

“Work limited to one junction at the end of the programme is to be completed in early summer.”

Mr Coupé subsequently clarified that the junction in question was the Preston Road roundabout, near the Asda supermarket.

He said that attempting to complete every aspect of the upgrade by the spring (including Preston Road) would result in unnecessary disruption for residents and businesses as a result of lane closures and other carriageway encroachment.

He said: “It would be possible to deliver the scheme by the original stated dates, but to do so would cause unacceptable impacts.

“A careful balance needs to be struck between making progress on-site and minimising disruption to road users, residents and businesses.

“While some works can happen in parallel, other works need to happen sequentially. We are endeavouring to explore opportunities to accelerate the programme.”

Here is a breakdown of the progress that has been made on each aspect of the western corridor upgrade:

Bluebell roundabout: work is complete but traffic conditions will not substantially improve until the rest of the scheme is completed. The site will be monitored to ensure that traffic flows as smoothly as possible, including the length of time between green lights. Estimated completion date: completed

Stourton Way: the southern toucan crossing has been completed, with the northern crossing following in early-September. Work to improve street lighting, the cycleway and reinstating the grassed areas will be completed in the coming weeks. Estimated completion date: September/ October 2018

Copse Road: work on this junction started ahead of schedule, with work on the southern side “substantially complete”. Work will continue on the northern side to realign the carriageway, timing it alongside the diversion on Lufton Way. Mr Coupé said: “We are accelerating this piece of work to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.” Estimated completion date: autumn 2018

Westlands roundabout: the south-western side is “substantially complete”, with work now focusing on the north-western section and then the section leading to the Lysander roundabout. During this latter period, when both roundabouts will be resurfaced, some night-time work may be carried out and traffic management will ensure that disruption will be “limited to a single approach at any time”. Estimated completion date: early-2019

Lysander roundabout: contractors have made “significant early progress”, carrying out night work during the summer holidays and removing the central roundabout after Yeovil in Bloom. Work on the southern side is “well-advanced”. Estimated completion date: spring 2019

Preston Road: work is proceeding on the retaining wall on Lufton Way up to the roundabout, with the closure due to be in place until mid-October. At the south-eastern part of the roundabout, an existing slope will be strengthened instead of building a new retaining wall, reducing the roadworks’ duration while fitting in with changes to the Asda supermarket. Estimated completion date: summer 2019

Mr Coupé said that the full benefits of the western corridor scheme would not be felt by residents until work on all seven aspects had been completed.

He said: “The completion of the Bluebell junction is not expected to immediately improve traffic conditions, as traffic flow may be already impeded due to lane closures and traffic management in various locations throughout the work site.”