Somerset Chamber of Commerce calls for fewer roadwork delays

An ITV Freedom of Information request found there were an extra 158 days of misery for drivers on roads in Somerset. Credit: ITV West Country

A leading business group in the West Country says productivity is being damaged by the amount of road congestion.

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce has called for councils, utility companies and developers to ensure fewer sets of works over-run.

Last year more than 150 extra days of roadworks took place in Somerset because of project delays.

An ITV freedom of information request shows that of nearly 1500 sets of maintenance roadworks commissioned by Somerset County Council over the past year, there were 158 days of them over-running.

The man in charge of Somerset's roads says those numbers don't tell the full story.

If you tarmac in the rain so it doesn't fix the surface below and then you have to come back and redo the work that's more disruption and more expense. So what we do is we stop, and that's an over-run and we come back and we finish the job and that's the right way to do it. Only 67 have been unauthorised over-runs and they've been all by water, electricity, gas, developers, people like that. And where that happens we will pursue them.

Cllr John Woodman Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport, Somerset County Council
'Road Closed' signs are a common sight around the West Country. Credit: ITV West Country

The man in charge of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce wants to see more of the M5 in Somerset as a 'smart motorway' which varies the speed limit and opens the hard shoulder to ease congestion.

It will improve road reliability like it has done on the M42 which introduced a smart motorway in 2006. They've seen over a twenty per cent increase in road reliability and resilience which has to be of benefit economically for Somerset and the wider South West.

Dale Edwards, Somerset Chamber of Commerce
The man in charge of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce wants to see more of the M5 in Somerset as a 'smart motorway'. Credit: ITV West Country