Gravel Hill re-opens on Sunday following major investment

Gravel Hill (A349) will be reopened to motorists on Sunday 27 November 2016 following a four month closure that has seen major improvements costing £3.9 million being carried out. 

The road was closed on 24 July to enable major works to be undertaken. The main contractor, Mildren Construction, has carried out major earthworks to strengthen and stabilise the embankment, refurbish the large culvert (man-made piped structure) which carries Blackwater stream under the road and improve the road’s surface drainage. 

The newly constructed and widened, shared pedestrian/cycle lane now provides the missing cycle link connecting Merley to Poole town centre. This, along with the reduced speed limit from 60mph to 40mph will help provide a safer journey for school children and commuters walking or cycling in the area. 

Borough of Poole’s in-house team, Streetscene, is putting the finishing touches to the Queen Anne Drive junction to help improve traffic flow and reduce congestion. This has involved widening the road, upgrading the signals to provide a toucan crossing (suitable for both pedestrians and cyclists) and introducing a shared pedestrian/cycle lane around the junction. New energy efficient traffic signals have also been installed. 

At Dunyeats Road junction pedestrian improvement works have been delivered too. This includes the introduction of two toucan crossings and some work to a length of kerb line to help improve access to and from the Crematorium. 

While the road has been closed the council has also taken the opportunity to replace the old street lamps with energy efficient LED lights. This is part of the £9 million boroughwide project to replace 17,500 street lights in the town with energy efficient LED lighting, saving around 70 per cent of the street lighting energy consumption every year. 

Once the road is re-open the temporary bus timetables for service 3, 4 and the 50 school service will revert to their usual routes. 

When Gravel Hill re-opens motorists will see: 

•   Three lanes for northbound traffic from Dunyeats Road towards Wimborne, at the junction of Queen Anne Drive. Traffic in the right hand lane will be directed to Queen Anne Drive only. Traffic in the left and middle lanes will merge in turn once they have passed the junction. 

•   Motorists from Queen Anne Drive will be able to turn left or right where there will be merge in turn layouts for both directions. 

•   Two lanes for southbound traffic from Wimborne at the Queen Anne junction. The left lane will be for traffic travelling left and straight on and the right hand lane for straight on only. 

Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: We are really pleased that that the main phase of these works will be finishing on time and within budget. Although some works will continue up until the end of January, Gravel Hill will be fully reopened to all road users on Sunday 27 November. We would like to thank the public for their patience while these essential works have been carried out.”

Cllr Drew Mellor, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: “The improvements at Gravel Hill form part of the £23.3 million investment in Poole’s infrastructure funded through Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s local growth deal. 

“With approximately 27,000 vehicles using Gravel Hill every day these improvements are designed to ensure the A349 remains a safe and reliable route to the Port of Poole and Poole Town Centre.” 

Gordon Page, chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said, “We’re delighted to see Gravel Hill reopening on time, marking great progress with this multi-million pound investment into the Port of Poole’s transport infrastructure. Improving roads plays a key part in driving Dorset’s economy and supporting jobs and growth across the region.”

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