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Plan ahead for the temporary closure of Gravel Hill

A £3.9 million scheme of major road improvements on a section of the A349 at Gravel Hill in Poole starts this week.

Gravel Hill will be closed to all traffic, except for cyclists and pedestrians, between Queen Anne’s Drive to Arrowsmith Road, for four months starting from 10pm on Sunday 24 July 2016.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys while the road remains closed.

A fully signed local diversion route will be in place via Darby’s Corner, Canford Heath Road, Ringwood Road, Bear Cross roundabout, Magna Road and Queen Anne Drive. Arrowsmith Road will be open to local traffic, with the existing 7.5 tonne weight restriction remaining in place and a temporary 30mph speed limit.

Access for Gravel Hill residents, pedestrians and cyclists will be maintained and a temporary timetable for No 3, 4 and 32 bus services will be operating.

Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: “We appreciate this closure will inevitably cause some unavoidable disruption to road users and we have taken every opportunity to minimise the impact this will have on people.

“We have scheduled the work to start once the local schools have closed for the summer and there is generally less traffic. We have worked closely with neighbouring authorities and utility companies to co-ordinate the Gravel Hill improvements with roadworks planned in other areas. We’ve also worked with bus companies to provide revised bus timetables. Temporary traffic signals have been installed at the junction of Arrowsmith Road and Magna Road to help the traffic flow on the alternative route for local traffic during the period of the works. In addition advanced signs will be in place on the A31 to advise drivers approaching Poole to consider using alternative routes. Some works, such as tree felling, have been undertaken prior to the closure to minimised the duration of the closure and reduce the impact of the works on the travelling public.

“Where possible we would encourage drivers to start thinking about the steps they can take including allowing extra time for their journeys or using alternative routes.

“While some work may continue up until the end of January 2017, it is anticipated that the road closure will be lifted by the end of November. We would like to thank everyone for their patience while these improvements are carried out."

Possible steps to help make this closure easier for drivers include:

•   starting your journey earlier or later than usual to avoid peak rush hour
•   considering car sharing. You can find your car share partner with Carshare Dorset, a free website linking drivers and passengers across Dorset
•   using alternative means of travel such as walking and cycling and taking advantage of the maintained access along Gravel Hill

The major works being carried out at Gravel Hill include strengthening the embankment, widening the footway to create a shared footway/cycleway, improving the Gravel Hill and Queen Anne Drive junction and improving the highway drainage that runs underneath Gravel Hill. The works at the Gravel Hill/Queen Anne junction will be undertaken by the Council’s in-house team, Street Scene, and all the other works will be undertaken by Mildren Construction.

Cllr Drew Mellor, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: "These improvements are part of a much wider co-ordinated programme that will see the A31 to the Port of Poole benefit from significant investment over the next few years.”

Gordon Page, Chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These road improvements at Gravel Hill mark the start of a multi-million-pound investment into the Port of Poole’s transport infrastructure to unlock economic growth into the region. The funding for these infrastructure projects, secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership through the Dorset Growth Deal, will deliver significant long-term employment, housing and economic benefits to the region.”

​To keep up to date on the progress of these improvements you can visit poole.gov.uk/GravelHill, subscribe to receive the monthly Travel and Roads e-newsletter direct to your inbox or follow the Borough of Poole on Facebook and Twitter (#GravelHill and #A349).