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10 October 2011, 06:26
Main construction work on the A31 Canford Bottom junction improvement scheme in Dorset has begun.
The Highways Agency says the £5.7million scheme will increase capacity at the busy junction by constructing a dual carriageway through the roundabout. A 'Hamburger' junction will be built at the interchange, which will also include traffic signals.
Work will involve 24 hour narrow lanes and a temporary 30mph speed restriction on the A31, and some overnight closures of the A31 and local roads between now and the end of the year. There will be further closures of local roads after Christmas.
Neil Andrew, Highways Agency asset manager, said:
"The A31 Canford Bottom junction is a busy interchange with significant congestion at peak times and weekends, resulting in long traffic queues on the approaches. This scheme aims to reduce congestion, both for the A31 and local roads, and make the junction safer.
"We've planned the work carefully to minimise disruption, and we are asking road users to drive carefully when the roadworks are in place and to plan their journeys before setting out. There will be appropriate signing to let people know businesses are open and accessible during the diversion periods."
"Some of the work will be noisy but we wish to reassure local people that we will constantly monitor noise levels and take every measure possible to mitigate the effects."
During the first few weeks, work will include the removal of the existing road markings, road studs, signage, safety barrier and lighting.
There will also be some vegetation clearance, the existing islands separating lanes will be removed, and traffic management to create a safe zone for road users and road workers will be installed. Work will be carried out during the day and overnight, and will be carefully planned to minimise disruption.
Work will then start on building the new dual carriageway through the centre of the roundabout during November and December.
Details of road closures will be publicised in advance, and each closure will have clearly signed diversions routes in place.
Work will be carried out 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Most of the noisy work will take place during day-time hours; however for safety reasons some activities which are noisy need to be carried out overnight when traffic flows are lowest.
The junction improvements include new signing, road markings and traffic lights, as well as new pedestrian and cyclist facilities which will link the local communities on either side of the A31.
The approaches and exits of the A31 will be widened to allow traffic to merge safely and to increase the capacity of the junction. CCTV will be installed to monitor traffic flows, and drainage will be upgraded.
The improvements will be completed ahead of the London 2012 Games.
*Whenever the A31 is closed, the following fully signed diversions will be in place.
Diversion - A31 between Canford Bottom and Tricketts Cross
Traffic heading westbound along the A31 will be diverted from the Tricketts Cross roundabout, west along Ringwood Road (A347/A348) signed towards Bournemouth. At the Longham Roundabout (next to Haskins Garden Centre), traffic will take the 2nd exit onto the B3073 Ham Lane. Traffic will then continue north on the B3073 where they will rejoin the A31 at the Canford Bottom roundabout. Eastbound traffic will follow this diversion in reserve.
Diversion - A31 between Merley and Canford Bottom
Traffic heading westbound along the A31 will be diverted from the Canford Bottom roundabout, south along the B3073 Ham Lane signed towards Hampreston and Longham. At the Longham Roundabout (next to Haskins Garden Centre), traffic will take the 2nd exit onto the A348 Ringwood Road towards Poole. Traffic will continue west on this road until reaching the junction with the A34. Traffic will take the 3rd exit heading north on the A341 Magna Road. At the junction with the A341 Gravel Hill, traffic will turn right and head north where they will rejoin the A31 at the Merley roundabout. Eastbound traffic will follow this diversion in reserve.
The Highways Agency has set up a special section on their website www.highways.gov.uk/a31canfordbottom where people can sign up for regular progress updates for the project.
Drivers are advised to check their route for road works and allow extra time for their journeys where needed.
For information on roads in the South East follow us at @HAtraffic_seast or for the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.
Safety at roadworks
The Highways Agency is working with the industry and road users to reduce the risks of working on the roads. For the safety of road workers and all road users, when you are approaching roadworks:
- Keep within the speed limit - it is there for your safety.
- Get into the correct lane in good time - don't keep switching.
- Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.
- Be alert for works' traffic leaving or entering roadworks.
- Keep a safe distance - there could be queues in front.
- Observe all signs - they are there to help you.