Praise pours in for toll road ‘champion’ who helped thousands of people during Kelston Road closure

pic if neededThe Kelston Road reopened today as closed signs went up on the toll road and praise poured in for the “community champion” who has helped thousands of people keep moving.

Mike Watts opened the temporary bypass in August to get round the closed section of the A431 after Bath & North East Somerset Council said it wouldn’t. He hopes to just about break even on his £300,000 investment.

In total they have been around 125,000 journeys made on the toll road.

On the social media site Twitter, comments include this from Bath’s Conservative Prospective MP Ben Howlett:  “As the Kelston Rd reopens today, we should all give a huge thanks to community champion Mike Watts for @KelstonTollRoad helping thousands.”

Another grateful user of the road tweeted: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I got to the RUH so quickly. Mike deserves a knighthood for making life easier, Thank you so very much. You did what the council should have, right at the start. I really hope you made your money back.”

The toll road team has thanked supporters for the cakes, chocolates, cards and well wishes they have received.

Even though Mr Watts put in a planning application for his toll road in August, the processing of the application by B&NES Council was ongoing until last week when he withdrew the application on learning that the A431 was reopening.

However, Kelston Toll Road Ltd has received a bill from the council for business rates to the tune of £3,500.

The A431 was closed on the Bath side of Kelston village, near Kelston Park, nine months ago after huge cracks appeared and it was declared a potential deathtrap.

The reopening at 6am today came ahead of the Christmas deadline the council originally set and the road was soon back to normal with the early morning commuter traffic. The repair work has cost in the region of £2.6m and involved drilling concrete piles down as far as 15 metres below the existing ground surface to stabilise the land and support the new road.