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A420 near Chippenham to be closed on weekdays for two weeks for essential safety works

Wiltshire Council is carrying out essential safety work on the A420 west of Chippenham from Monday 25 July until Friday 5 August.

Published 13 July 2022
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Wiltshire Council is carrying out essential safety work on the A420 west of Chippenham from Monday 25 July until Friday 5 August.

The work will see the closure of the road near North Wraxall, between The Shoe and Ford, to fell approximately 200 ash trees that are affected by ash dieback disease.

To minimise disruption, the A420 will be closed from 9am-7pm on weekdays only during this period - it will be open as usual in the evenings and early mornings, and also at weekends.

Ash dieback is a fungal disease that is likely to affect around 90% of British ash trees over the next five to 15 years. Once infected, trees decline quickly and rapidly lose timber strength, which can lead to falling branches and trees. Where diseased trees are next to a highway, this can cause a significant safety issue, as they could easily fall on vehicles or pedestrians, potentially causing serious injury.

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: We apologise to anyone affected by this temporary daytime closure of the A420, but felling these trees is something we unfortunately have to do to help keep our highways safe.

We've done all we can to minimise disruption by only closing the road from 9am-7pm on weekdays throughout the two weeks, and a full diversion will be in place.

Ash dieback weakens trees, causing branches and whole trees to fall, which can be very dangerous. I'd urge all Wiltshire landowners with ash trees - particularly next to public highways - to have their trees professionally surveyed and to have them felled where appropriate to keep people safe.

Unfortunately, due to the prevalence of ash dieback disease, we will have to do a lot more work over the coming months and years to remove diseased trees next to our highways network.

As set out in our business plan, we want to improve and protect Wiltshire's biodiversity, and so for every ash tree felled, we will plant three native trees, which will increase our tree stock. This planting programme will begin in the autumn.

From Ford, the diversion route for this work heads east along the A420 to the A350, then south along the A350 to the A4, west on the A4 to the A46, north on the A46 to the A420, and then east along the A420 to the Shoe. It is reversed in the other direction.

Signage stating that businesses are open as usual, and that some routes are unsuitable for diversion traffic will be in place to minimise disruption.

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