TOWN centre congestion in Poole is likely to increase in February as work continues on improvements to the gyratory system.

Work estimated to cost £400,000 started in West Street before the end of last year to improve the roads for walkers and cyclists.

The second phase of the programme, involving improvements to the signalised junction by the Queen Mary pub, has now started.

Work will require the removal and replacement of the current traffic lights with low voltage and energy efficient equipment and new controlled pedestrian crossings will be put on each approach to the junction.

A zebra crossing by Levets Lane will also be installed and the work is due to be completed by March 2014.

But, to enable the new signal equipment to be installed, Borough of Poole says it will be necessary for the junction to be controlled by temporary traffic signals for up to a two week period.

And they are warning that during this period there may be some “additional congestion” at peak times as the junction will have reduced capacity.

The temporary traffic signals are likely to remain in place in the area until February.

“During the summer we asked local people to comment on two proposals designed to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on this busy road,” said Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation.

“I am delighted that we have been able to start these works,” she said.

“We recognise that there will be some disruption to road users during this next phase of works and would like to thank drivers for their patience while these important works are carried out.”

Residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping two lanes of traffic feeding the town’s two lifting bridges and the improvements to the West Street and West Quay Road layout come ahead of a longer-term supplementary plan.