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DRIVERS have been left baffled by a five-mile diversion around Melksham to access the town centre because of works on the Bath Road bridge
Work began this week on the town centre bridge to install pedestrian barriers and improve pavement kerbing, closing the bridge to southbound traffic for the next three months, until Tuesday 5th May.
Despite access to the town centre still being available via Semington Road and Spa Road, a Wiltshire Council detour sends southbound traffic almost five miles along Western Way, Spa Road, Snowberry Lane, Eastern Way, Sandridge Common, Sandridge Road, and Lowbourne, before reaching the town centre.
And if drivers want to use the main car park in Church Street, they then have to drive even further, to the Market Place, before looping back towards Church Street.
The diversion has raised concerns about the impact on residents living on the route; and the environmental impact caused by vehicles having to travel further – increasing carbon emissions and affecting the town’s air quality.
In response to concerns, a spokesperson for Wiltshire Council, cllr Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways said, “The official diversion route avoids an existing 7 ½ tonne weight limit at Melksham High Street. There are other routes available locally for vehicles that do not exceed the weight limit.”
Critics, though, have pointed out that the diversion signs do not mention a weight limit, so all drivers are being urged to go on an unnecessary five mile detour.