MOTORISTS are facing traffic misery when major works get under way on one of Bournemouth’s busiest roads.
Work on a £650,000 scheme to improve cycling, walking and bus travel at Castle Lane West is due to begin on Monday and will last until the end of August.
East Way at its junction with Castle Lane West will be completely closed to traffic for more than a month from July 25 until August 30.
Bournemouth council chiefs said the work was necessary to make travel easier, safer and more attractive.
But local councillor Anne Rey disagrees and says the roadworks will be a “nightmare” for local residents.
“I am concerned about this because I don’t think the changes they are making are worth the money and the disruption,” she said. “The traffic is already bad around here – it is going to be horrendous.”
Roughly 30,000 motorists use the road every day, with a quarter of the children in Bournemouth attending schools in and around Castle Lane West.
New continental-style cycle lanes, which separate cyclists from drivers, will be introduced as part of the scheme.
The lanes are raised above the road – either at the same level as the pavement or slightly lower – to improve safety and the perception of danger.
Other work will include widening of pavements and cycle lanes, a new traffic light junction, improvements to current crossings and road surfacing.
Councillor Michael Filer, cabinet member for transport, said: “These works form part of Bournemouth Borough Council’s plans to improve sustainable travel options when travelling to work, school and for leisure purposes.
“We want to ensure that all pedestrians and cyclists feel confident travelling in and around this area, as well as encouraging others to travel more sustainably and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“Once complete, these works will help reduce congestion in the long-term and enhance the overall environment.”
Traffic travelling along Castle Lane West will be diverted via Charminster Road to access East Way from the south while the junction is closed.
Ian Kalra, head of transportation services, said: “We are preparing for a future with more people, more jobs and more commuters by making these changes now. “We are aware that there may be some disruption during the works. However, various traffic measures will be put in place to keep disruption to a minimum for local residents, businesses and the travelling public.”
Residents will still be able to access their properties during the improvements and bus services and refuse collections will not be affected.
The first phase of works are expected to be completed by August 2014.