Question time for Network Rail on A371 road closure near Castle Cary
Network Rail has promised to field questions from concerned Castle Cary residents ahead of a major 19-week road closure.
Part of the A371 near Castle Cary railway station will be closed in both directions between July and November.
It is feared that the closure – which will create a 17-mile diversion for motorists – could cripple local trade.
After mounting public pressure during the past few months, Network Rail officials have vowed to allay any fears at a community drop-in session, proposed for Monday, April 5.
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The venue has yet to be confirmed.
Janette Cronie, chairman of Ansford Parish Council, said: “I have lived in Castle Cary for 47 years and have never experienced anything of this size.
“The road closure will have an impact on absolutely everyone in the town. It will be upon us very quickly.
“I think it’s important for us all to look forward rather than back at some of the mistakes made in the past.”
Network Rail originally planned to close the road to carry out engineering work on Ansford Bridge in September 2012.
However, after facing staunch opposition from the local community, the work was delayed until this summer to allow residents and businesses time to prepare for the resulting disruption.
Network Rail will stage a meeting with councillors and businesses later this month to discuss the project’s potential impact on local trade. The public will then be invited to attend April’s drop-in session.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are working with community representatives to establish how we can minimise the impact of the bridge works at Ansford and will be meeting for a second time this month.
“We will then look to facilitate a community drop in event in mid-April.
“This is 12 weeks before the commencement of the planned road closure and we are satisfied that these are suitable timeframes for communicating our plans to the wider public.”
The 19-week closure will take place from Monday, July 8 until Friday, November 1. After this, a single-file traffic management scheme will be enforced until Sunday, December 1.