PROPOSALS to further reduce speed limits on the A38 between Wellington and Taunton are being opposed by town councillor John Thorne.
Somerset County Council wants to cut the 50mph limit between Cades Farm and Heatherton Grange to 40mph, and drop the 60mph restriction to 50mph from there to Rumwell.
Cllr Thorne said: “I know it is politically correct for councillors to support lower speed limits on the grounds of road safety.
“But in this instance I strongly believe the existing limits are appropriate for the type of road and there is not a sufficient case for cutting them again.
“The county highways department says in the past five years there have been three fatal or serious accidents on the stretch between Heatherton Grange and the Blackbird Inn, so it wants to cut the speed limit all the way to Cades Farm in one direction and to Rumwell in the other.
“Yet, its own survey of traffic in both directions showed speeds were already at or below the proposed 40mph limit, averaging 38.6 and 40.5mph.”
Cllr Thorne, who is standing for election to the county council in May, said reducing the speed limit would do little to improve safety while causing more congestion and delays for commuters and others trying to travel between Wellington and Taunton.
He said other, long-standing and more urgent issues should instead be addressed if the county wanted to improve road safety on the A38.
“What is really needed is a roundabout or traffic lights at the dangerous Heatherton Grange crossroads,” said Cllr Thorne. “Also, a right-turn zone at the entrance to Blackdown Garden Centre.
“There are serious congestion issues at the Chelston roundabout during the rush hours, and on Wellington relief road we need a roundabout at the Pyles Thorne Road and Ford Street junctions.”
Cllr Thorne said the highways department was to carry out a public consultation on the proposals which would allow local people to directly have their say on the suggestions.