A39: Roadworks on key route through Exmoor National Park in Somerset spark 50-mile diversion

The roadworks which will repair less than 500 metres of the Somerset road network Credit: Google Maps

Motorists in Somerset face a 50-mile detour while a key road through the Exmoor National Park is repaired and resurfaced.

Somerset County Council will be carrying out repairs on the A39 Selworthy Road between Minehead and Porlock over two phases in March, focussing on the area between Headon Cross and Venniford Cross.

The roadworks, which will repair less than 500 metres of the Somerset road network, will see traffic diverted around the southern side of the Dunkery Beacon and over the border into Devon.

The council has said the work has been timed to keep disruption to a minimum and is essential to ensure drains and gullies are in working order.

A highways team will be carrying out preparatory work from 6-10 March, when the road will be closed between 9.30am and 3pm each day. Temporary traffic lights will be in force outside of these times.

All HGV vehicles over 17 tonnes and/or over 9.5m in length which need to pass through this stretch of road will be held at holding areas, with access being granted between 1pm and 1.30pm daily. Emergency vehicles will be able to pass through the site unimpeded.

Between 13 and 16 March, the road will be closed between 6pm and 7am to allow for night-time resurfacing work - with the A39 being reopened for daytime traffic throughout this latter period.

Councillor Mike Rigby, portfolio holder for transport and digital, said: "We delayed these works to find a more suitable time so the closures will have a reduced impact on road users.

"The work is essential - we are improving drainage and carrying out repairs. However, we understand there will still be disruption which is why undertaking these works outside peaks hour is likely to limit just that.

"Our team will do everything they can to minimise this. Our team will be in touch with residents and businesses in the immediate area to ensure they have all the information they need. Please do check the details on the diversion and plan ahead if you use this route regularly."

During the road closures, traffic wishing to reach Porlock from the east will be diverted back through Minehead along the A39, take the A396 through Dunster and picked up the B3224 at Wheddon Cross.

From there they will head west along the B3223 and B3358 through Simonsbath, rejoining the A39 at Blackmoor Gate on the Devon side of the national park and head east via Lynton and Lynmouth - a diversion which could add up to 52 miles to their journey.