Drivers are being urged to allow extra time for their journeys around Gravel Hill (A349) in Poole as once schools go back in September there will be extra traffic on the roads.
Gravel Hill is currently closed to all traffic, except for cyclists and pedestrians, between Queen Anne Drive and Arrowsmith Road, until the end of November.
A fully signed local diversion route is in place via Darby’s Corner, Canford Heath Road, Ringwood Road, Bear Cross roundabout, Magna Road and Queen Anne Drive. Arrowsmith Road is open to local traffic, with the existing 7.5 tonne weight restriction remaining in place and a temporary 30mph speed limit.
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. 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.
These improvements, funded by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, 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.
John Rice, Engineering Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “We are pleased with how the initial works are progressing and the use of the temporary measures we have put in place to minimise disruption to road users.
“However, with schools going back in September this will lead to a significant increase in traffic in this area at peak times. We would encourage drivers to plan ahead before the school term starts and allow plenty of extra time for their journey.
“For those people who are considering changing their mode of transport, full access along Gravel Hill is available for pedestrians and cyclists as well as a temporary timetable for No 3, 4 and 32 bus services.”
Other steps that could 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 carsharedorset.com, 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 programme of works being carried out at Gravel Hill is currently ahead of schedule. The traffic signals and traffic island have been removed from the junction of Queen Anne Drive and Gravel Hill to keep traffic moving during the extensive works. Vegetation has been cleared, trees felled and pipes and cables for utility companies have been relocated to enable the road to be widened. Part of the embankment has also been cut back to provide greater width at the Queen Anne Drive junction. In addition metal piles have been driven into the ground along the road edge on Gravel Hill to strengthen the embankment.
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 by clicking on the ‘email me’ sign up button at poole.gov.uk or follow Borough of Poole on Facebook and Twitter (#GravelHill and #A349).