RESIDENTS are calling for action to prevent a serious accident occurring, after speeding drivers began using a country road as a rat run while a main road is out of action.

The closure of the B4696 Braydon Road, which runs the length of north Wiltshire from the M4 to Ashton Keynes, is causing concern for villagers near Minety, as drivers have taken to using a small, country road instead of obeying the diversion.

There have been three incidents at the junction by Manor Farm since Braydon Road was closed for bridge repairs in September and another incident further down The Common, which resulted in a person being taken to hospital last month.

Residents who live near The Common say the incidents are a result of impatient drivers travelling too fast on the road, which they are using as a shortcut rather than following the official diversion which takes motorists to the A429 near Malmesbury.

Mother-of-four Sarah Crompton told the Standard that although The Common is narrow and subsiding in places there are long straight stretches and the heavy traffic using it as a diversion travels far too fast.

“The shoulders are all falling away and the verges are now all mashed up,” said Mrs Crompton.

“These are not just cars but also large, heavy lorries and gravel trucks.

“Because they are going too fast, people have been coming off the road at the corners and I understand someone was hurt so badly last week they had to be taken to hospital.”

Mrs Crompton and her fellow residents along The Common have asked the police and the council to take action by introducing a temporary speed limit on the road until the bridge is repaired but nothing has come of their pleas so far.

“Nobody is listening,” she said.

“Eventually the council did do a traffic count but it was at half term when there was less traffic.

“Even so, they recorded 2,700 vehicles in a day, and an average speed of 50mph, but said that was absolutely fine for this class of road.

“When I asked them what was not fine for this class of road I was told they didn’t know.

“It’s an incredibly dangerous situation.”

During the traffic count, one car was clocked travelling at 85mph and 96 per cent of vehicles were exceeding the 30mph speed limit.

Minety parish councillor Ewan Morrison, who set up the Speeding in Minety page on Facebook - a campaign group to combat excessive driving in the village , echoed Sarah’s fears.

“As a member of the parish council I can say that we fully support Sarah’s actions, and a resident of the village, I share her concerns”, he said.

“Hopefully by working with Wiltshire Council and the police we can get provisions in place to tackle the issues before it’s too late and a more serious accident occurs, as there have already been accidents during this diversion down the Common Road.”

A spokeswoman for Wiltshire Police said: “We are working in partnership with the Highways Agency to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to assess the risk around the concerns residents have raised regarding the current Braydon Road works.

“A temporary weight restriction has been put in place.

“We are also aware that some residents of Minety have expressed concerns over speeding in the village. Community co-ordinator PC Stuart Welch is due to attend the next Minety Parish Council meeting, on November 14, to speak with the local community about their concerns.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “It is our policy when closing roads to use an equal class of road for the advisory signed diversion, in this case it uses the B4042 and B4040 via Malmesbury, an end to end diversion in the region of 20 miles.

“It would appear that those drivers with local knowledge or following sat-nav directions are using local roads in preference to the diversion.

“Many lanes in the area have seen a significant increase in traffic with The Common being the greatest affected, as they are public roads there is no restriction on their usage. However, we are working with Wiltshire Police to mitigate the effects of the closure as much as possible to both drivers and local residents.

“The public are reminded to always drive to the conditions and the road layout.”

Wiltshire Council anticipate that works to replace the understrength bridge will be completed around Christmastime, when the B4696 will reopen.