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Bowerhill residents’ anger after village isolated by roadworks

BOWERHILL residents were left frustrated after they say they were given no advance warning about roadworks which caused a long diversion and left bus users having to walk.  

Several motorists contacted the Melksham News after they were faced with a diversion through Seend to get to their homes after both routes from Melksham were closed at the same time for roadworks. The road closures also meant bus users were forced off at Snowberry Lane and told to walk the rest of the way.

For a period of five days Spa Road and the A365 between Western Way and the Bowerhill roundabout was closed each evening from Monday 2nd March, forcing motorists to go back through Seend to get access to Bowerhill.

To make matters worse motorists say no advance warning was given, that better signage should have been in place and that roadworks should have been done in stages so access to Bowerhill could be kept open.

Resident Christine Glover said, “I was furious as the lack of warning meant it took 50 minutes to get from Holt to my home in Bowerhill.

“Nobody was warned about the closures and to make matters worse, they closed both routes into the village from Melksham. The work should have been done in stages and it could have caused real problems if an emergency vehicle needed to use that route.

“Not only was there no advance warning, but there was also poor signage as there was nothing to say both Spa Road and the A365 were shut. Once I did manage to work out that Seend was my only route, I saw several motorists looking lost in Seend as they didn’t know the way.

“It is not good enough and really some warning should have been given.”

Another resident Amy Chase said, “The village was left isolated and with no warning that it was going to happen.

“I accept roadworks need to be done but why couldn’t it be done in a way that allowed some traffic through and really it ought to be clearer which roads are closed.”

Ali Kattana the senior assistant engineer for Highways said, “There is a standard requirement to keep diverted traffic on the same class of road as the road being closed – in this case ‘A’ roads – as the local diversion routes were not suitable for the types of vehicles that come in and out of the Bowerhill estate.

“The only possible alternative for cars only is again to follow the A365 towards Devizes, but to turn up Bollands Hill back towards Seend. This route is the only physical route that can be followed from that, but it is narrow, hence why we had no choice but to follow the route via the A365, A361 and back up to Melksham on the A350.

“With regards  to the emergency services, they are notified of the closure and what tends to happen is that there is an unwritten rule on site that vehicles on “Blues and Twos” will be allowed through the site, be it either escorted or under their own volition.”