MAJOR roadworks in Winton and Boscombe led to severe traffic delays across Bournemouth last week.
Southern Gas Networks has been replacing a gas main at the junction of Wimborne Road and Alma Road for the past two weeks, with work scheduled to conclude next Monday.
Last week was the start of 12 weeks of work on the latest manifestation of the Three Towns Travel Initiative in Boscombe – new cycle lanes at the junction of Christchurch Road and St John’s Road.
Among those affected by both sets of roadworks is shopkeeper Taner Altun, whose journey from his house in Kinson to his business, Crescent Food Hall in Christchurch Road, has increased to at least 45 minutes.
“They have been here a week now and the traffic is really bad, which also means people are avoiding the area,” he said.
“Business was really down at the weekend, and Monday is usually very busy but today it is extremely quiet.”
Ian Kalra, head of transportation services at Bournemouth Council, said the works had been carefully planned to avoid disruption, and called for the public to be patient while “long-term improvements” are made.
However, Mr Altun said he did not believe the promised results – including new pedestrian crossings, resurfacing and improved bus stops – would be worth the disruption.
“I know they said they are improving the area, but it doesn’t look like improvement to me, putting in ten metres of cycle lane,” he said.
“The area won’t change. They took the benches out of the Crescent, now they are putting them back so we will get the drinkers back causing problems.”
In Winton, both Sembcorp Bournemouth Water and Wessex Water have used the opportunity of the gas works to carry out their own works.
Southern Gas Networks spokesman Hannah Adam said: “We appreciate that roadworks can be frustrating, however the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years.”
Sonia Butler, owner of Butler’s Baguettes sandwich shop in Wimborne Road, said: “The traffic has been bad but the work needs to be done, and they have kept us well informed.”