A338 / Blackwater Junction FAQs

Frequently asked questions 

What is the Bournemouth International Growth Programme?


Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme is a major economic growth plan focused on employment and development around Bournemouth Airport. Find out more.

Who is carrying out the work?

Dorset Council is carrying out the works with their appointed contractor, supported by BCP Council.

What BIG Programme schemes can we expect??

  • A338/Blackwater Junction Improvement Scheme – Completed June 2019
  • B3073 Blackwater West Improvements Scheme – Ongoing July 2019 to Spring 2020
  • Wessex Fields – see our dedicated page.

Will the Blackwater West Junction works result in delays?

The ongoing B3073 Blackwater West Junction improvements are likely to have a minimal effect on road users travelling via the A338. It will involve some night time closures on the Blackwater West slip roads to avoid impacting on daytime traffic.

Temporary traffic lights, similar to those used during the Blackwater East Junction works, are currently in operation to minimise the impact of the works on those travelling via the B3073. These lights have been set up to duplicate the original permanent lights, however we are able to make adjustments to the timings if necessary. Monitoring of the traffic is ongoing on a daily basis.

When will the Blackwater West Junction improvements be completed?

Phase one of the B3073 Blackwater West improvements started on Monday 1 July 2019. Works are scheduled to last 9 months and be completed in Spring 2020.

Why is there a gap on the A338 Southbound between the Blackwater Junction on slip and Cooper Dean off slip?

The A338 / Blackwater Improvements scheme was completed on time and on schedule at the end of June 2019. The scheme has introduced a longer, safer and more efficient Blackwater Junction southbound on slip and northbound off slip. In addition, a longer southbound off slip is now in operation at the Cooper Dean Roundabout.

The new Blackwater Junction southbound on slip extends to approximately halfway down the Wessex Water Works. The area in between the southbound on slip and the Cooper Dean off slip will include a new link off slip to the Wessex Fields development site boundary line.

What’s happened to the vegetation in the area north of Blackwater West?

The B3073 Blackwater West improvements include the construction of a new and more efficient A338 on slip road. A small part of the area which has been cleared of vegetation has been set aside for this purpose. The majority of the area however has been set aside for run off ponds and heathland restoration to help improve biodiversity in the area.

These works have involved the removal of top soil to expose the bare sandy soil underneath. When the Blackwater West Junction works have been completed this will create a valuable habitat for reptiles including sand lizards who use this type of habitat for egg laying and basking. The ponds will also collect highway runoff during heavy rainfall, further aiding diversity in the area. The work has been undertaken following consultation and with approval from Natural England and the Forestry Commission.

Are the average speed cameras on the A338 operational?

The new average speed cameras on the A338 were successfully installed and became live at the end of May 2019. They are currently supporting a 50mph limit on both the north and southbound side of the A338 between Blackwater Junction to Cooper Dean.

The average speed cameras are managed by Dorset Police.

Why can’t more work be done overnight and at weekends?

The nature of the works and in some cases their proximity to neighbouring properties prevent 24/7 working due to noise pollution as a result of the breaking up of concrete, the use of heavy equipment and the removal of spoil.

Weekend working is undertaken when practical, especially if due to ground conditions, adverse weather or other reasons, they have not been completed during the week.

Will this work have a major impact on the business economy of the town?

We are in contact with and listening to businesses.

Poor transport links are Dorset's number one impediment to business growth. The current works on the A338 at the Blackwater Junction, combined with other BIG Programme road infrastructure schemes, are addressing this very issue.

The BIG Programme will bring significant long-term economic benefits to Dorset - releasing new employment land, creating up to 10,000 new jobs, generating up to £500 million of GVA.  

How can I tell what the current road situation is to help me plan my journey?

Travel Dorset have a live map showing current road conditions. If you are able to use this to be flexible with your journey, bookmark the map for reference.


The current roadworks are part of the £20 million Bournemouth International Growth Programme to improve the A338 and B3073 corridors - aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport as well as improving journey times and unlocking employment land at Aviation Business Park and at Wessex Fields.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time and thank motorists for their patience.

FAQs last updated 29 January 2020


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