Traffic chaos in Nailsea and nearby
By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 11:52
North Somerset is a labyrinth of roadworks and diversion signs this month similar to London prior to the 2012 Olympics.
Lorries bottleneck at B3130
HGV hits railway bridge
BT is digging up the road outside my house, Clevedon Road is closed and motorway traffic is being delayed between Portishead and Clevedon.
But the biggest problem is the commuter chaos caused by buses running late and drivers getting misdirected.
On Tuesday structural engineers had to be called out after an articulated lorry hit the railway bridge at Nailsea and Backwell station.
Engineers from Network Rail were called to inspect the bridge after the driver of the lorry, travelling through Backwell towards Nailsea, struck it at just after 9am.
A total of 24 First Great Western and Cross Country train services were affected running between five and 10 minutes late while the bridge was inspected.
No damage to the bridge was discovered and trains started running again as normal after about half an hour.
First Great Western spokesman Dan Panes said: "Some trains were delayed during the inspection.
"There was no damage to the bridge."
The driver had been travelling from Portbury to Nailsea but because main Clevedon Road is closed had diverted via Backwell.
Clevedon Road closed on Monday for four days while road works are being carried out and a diversion put in place along the B3130 Bristol Road through Wraxall and up on to Belmont Hill.
The 7.5 weight limit at Belmont Hill in the village has also been temporarily suspended to allow traffic, including HGVs, needing to get into Bristol to avoid roadworks on the Long Ashton bypass.
But the fact that so many heavy goods vehicles are using the route – and struggling to find alternative ways in and out of Nailsea due to the road closure – is causing big problems.
On Monday at just after 10am three lorries collided on the B3130 on the bend by The Battleaxes pub.
Although the crash was not serious it caused lengthy delays as emergency teams dealt with the situation and cleared the road.
People living in Silver Street and Pound Lane in Nailsea have also reported problems with traffic congestion with some HGV drivers using the narrow residential streets and lanes as an alternative route to avoid the Clevedon Road closure.
North Somerset Coaches owner David Fricker is diverting his coaches through Wraxall during the closure.
Mr Fricker said: "The closure of Clevedon Road is really causing problems in the area as the majority of traffic is now using the BS310 through Wraxall.
"Already there has been a crash between three lorries on the bend by the pub.
"It left mud and bits of wall in the road and the road being blocked for almost 20 minutes.
"With HGVs being diverted this way it will no doubt be the first of many such accidents in the next few days.
"Lorries trying to get into Nailsea are also using Pound Lane and Silver Street because of the road closure which is causing the area to become very congested.
"One of the other problems is that the overhanging trees and hedges is narrowing the B3130 in places by six feet, making it even more difficult for large vehicles to get through.
"We have been asking for six months for the issue with the overhanging vegetation to be dealt with.
"This road closure is causing complete gridlock in some areas."
North Somerset Council spokesman Zoe Briffitt said: "We are aware that there have been a number of incidents on the diversion route, however we are happy that this is a suitable route for HGVs.
"The route is clearly signed and we hope to complete the work in Nailsea as soon as possible."
Buses into Bristol from Nailsea have been running up to 30 minutes late because of roadworks on the Long Ashton bypass.
Mr Fricker said he has been forced to re-route his X54 express service which normally runs at 7.40am each morning from the Link Road and along the bypass into the city after it became snarled up in the traffic.
Motorists have been facing delays along the bypass due to a £198,000 programme of repairs being carried out to Kennel Farm Bridge by North Somerset Council.
The work started last week and is due to take 10 weeks to complete.
Mr Fricker took the decision to re-route the bus – relied upon by commuters – after it was delayed by around 30 minutes, meaning the average 25 minute journey from Nailsea into the city was taking an hour.
The bus was diverted along Clevedon Road and up through Failand and down Clarken Coombe.
But with Clevedon Road is also closed the outcome has been chaos.
Added to this are the single file traffic lights at Backwell where Bristol Water is digging up the road.
The company is upgrading a total of 22kms of main water pipes at a cost of £260 million.
Mr Fricker added: "I run three express buses from Nailsea to Bristol each morning and in the evening. The earlier buses haven't been as badly affected but the later bus which leaves at 7.40am suffered severe delays.
"As a result of this we immediately changed the route to go around Failand to avoid the problem area."
If buses are regularly late they can be reported to the Traffic Commissioner who can impose penalties. Inbound traffic is being diverted off the A370 at the Long Ashton slip road.