A 70-METRE stretch of New Road in Ilminster is still closed six weeks after a landslide caused large cracks to appear.
This week, the News called on Somerset County Council to fix the problem as soon as possible and tell people in Ilminster and New Road residents what is going on.
A petition was signed by around 30 people last Thursday, and more petitions were left in Cottage Flowers, at Ilminster Town Council and GP surgeries in Canal Way.
Commuters say the closure is a huge inconvenience as they face a detour north from Ilminster to Ilton, Barrington and other villages.
Driver Jayne Yellard said: “You don't realise how much easier it is to get into Ilminster until you can’t go that way.
“Having to get out on to the A358 and then negotiate Southfields Roundabout is a nightmare and it’s costing more in petrol.”
Some New Road residents say the closure has brought welcome peace to the area, and others say a weight and width restriction for vehicles could be better enforced.
Sue Davison said: “The road’s like it was a few years ago before the expansion of the business parks in Ilton and the decision to use the road as a bus route and constant diversion for heavy traffic.”
Resident Ann Leontovitsch said people are still opening the metal gates to drive down the road and it has become a tourist attraction.
She said: “We’re like lions in a zoo – people are coming up here to poke sticks down the cracks.
“As much as it’s nice that there’s no traffic we’d really like the road open for the convenience of getting to the garage and to get anywhere.
“It would be nice to see an end to it even if it will take six months – at least we’d know what’s going on. They need to do a proper job.”
KEY QUESTIONS FOR COUNTY HALL:
News: Why has it taken so long to fix the road?
SCC: An engineer has been extremely busy because of the
unprecedented series of storms causing damage across the country.
News: Why have the cracks started to appear – is it extreme weather
or wear and tear?
SCC: The road has a history of slight movement, but was structurally
safe until the recent, sustained period of severe weather.
News: Why was the road not stable in the first place and what’s next?
SCC: A geotechnical engineer has now inspected the site in advance of
a full survey. This will be done as soon as possible.
News: Will width and weight restrictions be placed on the road after
SCC: It’s hard to say if any extra restrictions will be placed on the road
at this stage, but we hope to return things to normal.
News: There are people using the area as a tourist attraction, poking
sticks down the holes. Is there anything you can do to stop them?
SCC: The road is blocked off and closed – we advise people to adhere
to these signs.
News: Are there any medieval ruins or ancient relics under the road?
SCC: No medieval ruins have been mentioned.