HIGHWAYS engineers were today starting drainage work on a stretch of the A358 which was closed three times last year by mudslides from fields alongside it.

The third incident also saw a West Somerset Railway embankment collapse, forcing the temporary closure of the line.

Hundreds of tonnes of mud and potatoes from the fields had to be cleared in the incidents and Somerset County Council said the tenant farmer involved would carry out remedial measures to prevent it happening again.

Now, the council is carrying out what it described as ‘essential highway drainage improvements’ at Yarde Farm, Combe Florey, which will take until Friday to complete.

The scheme will see upgrades of drainage grips along the eastern verge of the A358 to allow surface water to better drain away and help reduce future highway flooding.

A council spokesman said the scope of the work was a result of a ‘successful liaison between the local landowner in the area’ and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and the county council. 

The work will be carried out under temporary traffic lights and a lane closure to maintain a two-way traffic flow throughout the project.

The lights will be in use between 9 am and 3 pm daily with the restrictions removed outside those hours. 

Council transport portfolio holder Cllr Mike Rigby said: “It is pleasing to see the joined-up approach with local stakeholders to get these much-needed improvements over the line.

“The work will remain open to traffic throughout and will take place before traffic volumes increase due to the Easter holidays to minimise disruption as much as possible.”