Emergency road closure gates on the Somerset Levels are ready to protect drivers from flood water if required this winter.
Following the severe Somerset floods of 2014, gates were installed by Somerset County Council along four roads at risk of flooding. The main aim was to stop vehicles getting stranded, thereby protecting drivers and passengers from danger and relieving the emergency services of the need to rescue people.
The gates can be found at Cutts Road (East Lyng to Athelney), New Road (West Lyng to North Curry), A361 (Burrowbridge to East Lyng), and Langport Road (Muchelney to Langport). They were originally installed as part of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which is overseen by Somerset Rivers Authority.
Drivers and communities are being reminded of the gates in case their use is required this winter. They are usually kept locked open and will only be locked shut by Somerset County Council when water levels are rising and the road is at risk of becoming impassable.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “One of the ideas put forward by the community during the 2014 floods was for permanent gates to physically stop cars getting stuck in flood water.
“This was taken forward and we now have gates at four locations which can be closed to keep people safe if the roads are flooded or likely to become flooded.
“We all hope they won’t be needed, but it’s really important drivers and communities are aware of the gates and understand how they will be used.”
The emergency road closure gates will only be shut when the road is impassable or at risk of becoming impassable. They will only be closed during daylight hours so this means gates may be shut before a road becomes flooded if there is a risk it will become flooded overnight.
Access will only be permitted for authorised people – such as the emergency services or those with property or land within the gates.
All decisions are made to help keep people safe following advice from the emergency services or the Environment Agency.
You can receive updates on the gates by following @TravelSomerset on Twitter or check whether they are open or shut at any time by visiting www.travelsomerset.co.uk/roadclosuregates. The webpage also contains further information about the operation of the gates and contact details so people can request access through the gates or sign up for email alerts.