Motorists slam 'daft' 38-MILE diversion for work to upgrade a sewer on a 380-yard stretch of road

MOTORISTS have slammed a "daft" 38-mile diversion for work to upgrade a sewer on a 380-yard stretch of road.

The A352 in Longburton, near Sherborne, Dorset, will be shut for five days from May 17 – just as lockdown lifts – to allow Wessex Water to carry out "essential" maintenance work.

The council's official diversion route, which involves leaving the county and crossing into Somerset, could take drivers over an hour.

The alternative route includes the A30, A37 and A351 before returning to the A352 in the opposite direction.

Drivers have been warned that anyone breaching the road closure could be fined up to £1,000.

Becky Gibbons, 49, landlady of the Rose & Crown in Longburton, said the diversion was "excessive" and at the "worst possible time".

She said: "I don't understand why the diversion needs to be 38 miles long. It is excessive.

"We're right in the middle of that stretch so we will be the worst affected by it.

"It is the worst possible timing as May 17 is such an important day for us with punters being allowed indoors again, but this will put people off coming to Longburton.

"Why couldn't this work have been done at any other time in the past year?"

One local motorist said: "Driving 38 miles just to get around a tiny stretch of road seems daft to me.

"On the one hand you get the authorities banging on at us go greener and save the planet and then on the other they are instructing thousands of motorists to make a needless 40 mile journey."

Dorset Council said the reason for the length of the diversion is because the closure is on an A-road and therefore any official alternative route must use the same class of road.

A Wessex Water spokesperson said: "This is essential work to upgrade our sewer network and protect the environment, starting on Monday, May 17 for five days.

"We're sorry for any inconvenience caused by the closure, which is necessary for the safety of road users and our workforce."

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