East Street in Taunton reopened to traffic for the first time since last June this morning (Monday May 24).
The main road through the city center was closed to vehicles to promote social distancing on June 15, when England emerged from the first coronavirus lockdown.
Several petitions have been launched to reopen the road, which has been threatened with being permanently pedestrianized.
Severe roadworks in the city center proved to be the tipping point when traffic got so bad that the movement to reopen East Street was revived.
Then just a few weeks ago the road works got underway, Somerset West and Taunton Council and Somerset County Council made the decision to reopen the road at the end of the month.
Traffic was seen on the street this morning after the barriers were lifted before rush hour began.
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Roadworks near the former Quantock House site began another phase this morning which is expected to add to the disruption in the city center.
However, the reopening of East Street this morning will allow vehicles to bypass roadworks and hopefully cut the journey time for many motorists through Taunton.
Blue badge holders also regained access to disabled parking spaces along East Street after they went missing overnight last summer.
Road works in downtown Taunton this morning (Monday, May 24) (Image: Ross Millen)
They have already said they felt like “second class citizens” by the council, but would be happy to be able to park along the main road again.
All disabled bays previously along East Street have been restored except for two parking spaces by Nationwide where a short section of barrier will be in place to widen the sidewalk and promote social distancing and the queue .
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Councilor John Woodman issued a warning to people after two-way traffic passed along East Street this morning.
He said: “We just need people to be aware of this – it sounds simple, but we’ve all gotten used to not expecting to see traffic here.”
“We want to make sure motorists have more choice, especially during peak periods in the downtown area, and we hope the reopening of East Street will help.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-24 07:55:28