Funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) will help improve transport links in Bridgwater and Taunton ahead of the construction of the UK’s first nuclear power plant in over 20 years.
The £2.8 million provided by the DfT will go towards fixing potholes and general roads maintenance, to avoid disruptive roadworks while the plant is being built. Rail stations at Bridgwater and Taunton will be improved to allow for greater passenger numbers and better connections with other modes of transport. The package also includes support for cyclists, with a new cycle route from Bridgwater to Hinkley Point providing a safe, efficient route for people wishing to get to the site by bike.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “The improved transport infrastructure for Somerset will support the area’s long term economic growth by providing public transport and cycle access to a nationally-important construction project.
“The Hinkley Point C power station will employ at least 5,000 people, generate business for local suppliers, and comes with significant investment in training and skills for local people. Transport to the power plant will be easier, safer and more environmentally friendly following these improvements.”
The transport schemes have been agreed by the Department for Transport and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is made up of local councils and representatives from the private sector.
The four schemes are as follows:
- £295,000 for a cycle route linking Bridgwater to Hinkley Point
- £150,000 for a scheme linking Taunton’s new DfT-funded inner distributor road to the rail station, improving connections between the railway and power station, helping the workforce that is expected to travel by rail – the Taunton Northern Inner Distributor Road is due to be completed in 2014 to 2015
- £800,000 for rail station improvements at Bridgwater, with the emphasis on linking trains with local bus services to allow the Hinkley workforce to get to and from the power station
- £1.6 million for roads maintenance – this early funding will allow existing roads to be improved in advance, reducing disruption and avoiding costs to the taxpayer for preventative work further down the line.