Overnight road closures support major milestone on A338 bridge works

Posted on Friday 12th October 2018
As work to join the two bridges that carry the A338 over the River Stour reaches its first major milestone, a section of the Spur Road will be closed overnight on 23 - 25 October. 

During these three consecutive nights, a full road closure will be in place in both directions from Cooper Dean to Ashley Heath roundabout between 8pm and 6am.

A key part of the £5million A338/Blackwater Improvements involves carrying out bridge protection works and widening the road over the River Stour.

The north and southbound roads crossing the River Stour are made up of two separate bridges, currently approximately half a metre apart separated by a metal grill. To enable the Spur Road to be widened, the two bridges need to be joined together and a new barrier installed. To speed up delivery of this part of the programme, precast concrete units will be used to fill the central gap and join the two bridges that span the River Stour.

The overnight road closures enable a crane to be placed on the highway to lift the precast concrete blocks safely into position. These units, fabricated in Ireland, need to be secured to the existing bridges requiring part of the existing structure to be removed, followed by new bridge deck waterproofing, steel reinforcing and new concrete placed either side of the precast units. The new safety barrier can then be installed along with new kerbs and the widened section surfaced, completing this phase of bridge works and the current period of working at night.

Larry Austin, Service Director of Environment, Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “The arrival of the precast concrete units is a key milestone in the construction programme and means we are on schedule to have all lanes open as planned by 10 December ready for the Christmas festivities.

“The contractor’s staff are currently on site up to 20 hours a day during the week. During the day one team carries out bridge works and makes extensive repairs to the bridges and another team works weekday nights focusing on earthworks to widen the southbound carriageway into the central reservation creating a metre of extra road.

“We fully appreciate the frustration and inevitable disruption these works are causing but we are doing everything we can to ensure the works are delivered as efficiently as possible; working at night will ensure that the works are completed as soon as possible to programme. Further night and weekend working is planned in the coming months.”

The location of the B3073 overbridge piers and the Stour River bridge means it is not possible to create a third lane on only one side of the road. Both sides need to be widened to accommodate a third lane.

The overall scheme has been designed to improve traffic merging around the Blackwater junction, and increase traffic capacity south of Backwater towards Cooper Dean to cope with increasing vehicle numbers.

These improvements form part of the £45.2million investment in Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme, aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport, unlocking employment land and stimulating economic growth.

The A338/Blackwater improvements will:

  • create an extra southbound lane on the section of the A338 between Blackwater Junction towards Cooper Dean roundabout
  • improve the southbound ‘on slip’ to the A338 from the B3073 at Blackwater East Junction
  • improve the northbound ‘off slip’ from the A338 to the B3073 at Blackwater West Junction
  • include B3073 bridge protection works and widen the carriageway over the River Stour bridge including new parapets and safety fences

The A338/Blackwater improvements are scheduled to last until June 2019. Road users are advised to sign up to the A338 travel blog to stay up to date with road news or check @TravelDorset on twitter for updates.

For more information visit www.A338.info