£5m upgrade to 'concrete carriageway' near M5 delayed again

The concrete carriageway connecting the M5 to the A38 near Wellington
The concrete carriageway connecting the M5 to the A38 near Wellington -Credit:Daniel Mumby

A £5m upgrade to a vital road linking a growing Somerset town to the M5 motorway won't begin for at least another 12 months. Somerset County Council received nearly £5m from the Department for Transport (DfT) back in July 2020 to upgrade and resurface the roundabout at junction 26 and the Chelston Link Road to Wellington (known locally as the ‘concrete carriageway’).

The scheme has been repeatedly delayed since this announcement, with the council's highways officers seeking to ensure the upgrade does not clash with other major improvements to the M5. Somerset Council (which replaced the county council in April 2023) has now confirmed that work on the 'concrete carriageway' won't begin until mid-2025 at the earliest.

Papers published at the time of the February full council meeting indicated that £4,610,000 of the original grant remains available for the project. The scheme was included in the council's capital programme for 2024/25, which was signed off in late-February as part of the annual budget setting.

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The council has since clarified that the project will not get under way until the middle of next year - meaning Wellington motorists face another 12 months of bumpy journeys. A spokesman said: "It is our intention to undertake construction in mid-2025 having regard to works planned elsewhere on the strategic highway network.

"We will be using the intervening period to plan delivery." The funding for the ‘concrete carriageway’ scheme is ring-fenced, meaning it cannot be reallocated either for other transport projects or day-to-day spending on maintaining Somerset’s road network.

Since the funding was originally awarded, numerous major developments along or near the ‘concrete carriageway’ have been approved, ranging from the creation of a new business park and associated wetlands to the east of the road to the approval of a new KFC drive-thru within the nearby Westpark 26 employment zone. National Highways indicated in late-March that its planned upgrades to the nearby sections of the M5 would not take place until mid-2025 at the earliest.

A spokesman said: "This currently programmed for construction in 2025/26. However, the final dates are yet to be confirmed."