ROUTE users expect more than a year of traffic “chaos” as the dates for works on the A31 are confirmed.
As reported, National Highways (formerly Highways England) plans to introduce a third lane and widen the A31 at Ringwood later this year.
The aim of the £ 25million scheme is’ to improve safety, reduce congestion, improve journey time reliability and improve facilities for walkers, cyclists and riders in the region and connect the routes in and around the region ”.
Following a recent stakeholder meeting with National Roads as well as advisers from Ringwood and Dorset, it was revealed that a two-lane reverse flow system will be in service from January 4 to November 30, 2022.
The opposite direction will be maintained in an east and west direction while a third lane will be added on each side. Additional work is also required on the eastbound roadway to resolve drainage issues, the removal of a gantry and for road markings corrections.
This will be preceded by the digging of Mansfield Road next week and the closure of its westbound ramp from Ringwood in November.
National Highway A31 Program Manager Alan Feist said: “Connecting people and communities is at the heart of what we do and we have been working hard on traffic management and diversion plans for our improvements on the road. ‘A31 to Ringwood.
“Our plans will minimize impacts on road users as we tear down and replace the two westbound bridges and widen the three-lane highway. I can confirm that we will be able to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction while we undertake the work from January to November 2022, with minimal disruption.
“We look forward to sharing our detailed plans at a number of public information events later this month. I encourage anyone interested in the upcoming program, or to log on electronically, to find out more about the work and what we are doing as we prepare to begin.
Ringwood City Council planning chairman and A31 Development Forum representative Cllr Philip Day told the Daily Echo he had “serious concerns” about the plans.
He said: “We are very concerned about the congestion that all of this work is likely to cause and the impact this will have on local businesses. This is not only something that will impact those in Ringwood, it will affect travel to Bournemouth, Christchurch as well as those living in Fordingbridge and traveling from Southampton.
“We have expressed our concerns on numerous occasions because this project is in a very difficult situation in terms of traffic management. It is extremely difficult to give advice because we do not know how people will react.
He added: “It remains to be seen whether the likely chaos justifies the end result, but it will have a significant impact for at least an entire year.”
Cllr Day added that westbound traffic from the M27 at the Ashley Heath roundabout would see journey times increase by around 31 minutes due to the backflow system.
Several public information events on the A31 take place online and in person. These will take place on:
- Tuesday, September 21 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams
- Thursday September 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ringwood City Council by appointment only
- Monday September 27 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Verwood Hub by appointment only
- Tuesday, September 28 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams
- Thursday, September 30 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams
Anyone interested can reserve a place by sending an email to: [email protected]
The A31 at Ringwood has been identified as an area in need of investment and is part of the government’s £ 15.2 billion road investment strategy to be implemented between 2020 and 2025.
In August, work to close off access to a West Street A31 slip road next to the Fish Inn pub was completed as part of the £ 25million scheme.