It seems ironic after such a dry summer, but the A358 has had to close following a mudslide. After such a dry summer, that the first significant downpour produces a serious mudslide is unfortunate. The A358 was closed from Monday (5 September) evening until Tuesday (6 September) lunchtime at Combe Florey near Taunton. The mudslide followed a thunder storm on Monday evening. To be precise the road was covered with mud and potatoes all mixed in together. The road is now reopened. But only after what has been, according to Mike Rigby, Somerset County Council’s portfolio holder for transport, a very expensive clean up.
However this is not the first time that this has happened. On 17 August around 100 tonnes of mud and potatoes closed the road at the same place. And with similar downpours forecast over the next week, it would not be a big surprise if this happened again. It certainly begs questions over why this keeps happening and why it is down to the taxpayer to pay for the clean up. Especially if the issue turns out to be a result of the land management of the fields on either side of the road. That remains to be seen.
The A358 is a vital artery for Somerset’s transport network, connecting West Somerset to Taunton. It is a road that has to be kept open. that has only been possible due to the reaction of the Highways Team on both occasions.