Next phase of works start on A338/Blackwater improvements

Posted on Friday 28th September 2018

The next phase of the multi million pound improvements to the A338/Blackwater junction start next week. 

In preparation, three consecutive nights of northbound and southbound road closures will take place from Sunday 30 September so that temporary steel barriers can be installed to create a safe working area to carry out essential maintenance.

The road will be closed between the A31 at Ashley Heath and the Cooper Dean roundabout from 8pm to 6am the following morning on Sunday and Tuesday. On Monday 1 October the closures northbound will start later to allow football supporters to travel home from the match.

From Monday, the southbound carriageway will be reduced to one lane again, and the northbound carriageway will run two narrowed lanes. Both carriageways will have a 40mph speed limit in force for driver safety.

During the week the existing barriers will be removed. During the following week daytime work will involve bridge works to join together the two bridges that carry the road over the River Stour, and make extensive repairs to these bridges. Night time work will mainly be earthworks to widen the southbound carriageway into the central reservation.

We expect to have all lanes open between 10 December 2018 and 7 January 2019.

Gary Powell, Head of Traffic, Engineering and Major Projects, Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Bournemouth is very much open for business and we would encourage residents and visitors to make full use of the retail, activities and events on offer, especially in the run up to Christmas.

“We appreciate these works will cause delays. There is never a good time to carry out these works but it does need to be done. The Spur Road is over 60 years old and was not built to cope with the current levels of road traffic. Our traffic modelling indicates that road traffic could increase by 20% over the next 12 years so these improvements are essential to ensure this main route into Bournemouth is fit for purpose and supports economic growth in the area.

“Drivers should try to plan ahead if they can, allowing extra time for journeys, finding alternative routes or travelling during off peak periods when delays will be minimal.”

Later phases of work include:

  • Widening of lane 1 southbound : January to Mid March 2019
  • Works to lane 2 northbound : Mid March to Mid April 2019
  • Widening of lane 1 northbound : Mid April to end June 2019

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 £45.2m 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 £5m A338/Blackwater Junction improvement scheme 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
  • carry out B3073 bridge protection works and widen the carriageway over the River Stour bridge including new parapets and safety fences

Lorna Carver, Director of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Transport links are Dorset’s number one impediment to business growth.  The current works on the A338 at the Blackwater Junction are part of a multi-million-pound infrastructure scheme to address this very issue.  They are an essential part of Dorset LEP’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme’s plans that will see the county benefit from thousands of new jobs, increased productivity, more housing and improved connectivity.

"Major road improvements of this scale will inevitably cause unavoidable delays. While frustrating for drivers affected, we would like to remind people of the significant long term economic benefits this investment is bringing Dorset.  We urge drivers to follow the advice of Bournemouth Borough Council to monitor travel updates on www.a338.info, allow extra time for journeys and where possible find alternative routes.”

The A338/Blackwater Junction improvement works 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