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UPDATED: Enough is enough: Stop the Upton bypass work now, says councillor
A leading councillor has called on highway chiefs to abandon controversial roadworks on the A35 Upton bypass after a day of traffic chaos yesterday.
Thousands of motorists were snarled up in chaos as roads were blocked by congestion.
The repairs and maintenance by Dorset County Council started on the day that the Sandbanks ferry was taken out of service for five weeks.
It meant that drivers trying to get into Poole and Bournemouth from the west faced huge delays and frustration.
“Now they have seen the chaos it’s causing, why can’t they say it’s too much and call it off?” said Cllr Fred Drane, who represents Lytchett on the county council.
After the first morning of Upton bypass work with roads gridlocked in all directions, he is calling for the scheme to be postponed until another time.
Cllr Drane intends to raise the issue at the full county council meeting on Thursday.
“They said they would work at night but that’s completely useless as the road is still coned off during the day and no work is being done,” he said.
However the county council said while resurfacing work will take place at night repairs to the Policeman’s Lane bridge is being carried out in daylight.
Journeys to work took hours instead of minutes yesterday as hard-pressed drivers were hit by a triple whammy on the roads around Poole.
And as furious and frustrated drivers sought explanations, sorry seemed the hardest word for the county council whose cabinet member for transport, Cllr Peter Finney said there would “inevitably” be delays and drivers should allow “plenty of extra” time for their journeys.
The start of 15 weeks of engineering work by Dorset County Council – which brought the A35 Upton bypass down to a single lane eastward – coincided with Wessex Water’s 10 weeks of work to replace a water main in Blandford Road with a one-way section as well as the removal of the Sandbanks ferry for its biennial repaint and refit.
“Where is the co-ordination?” said Alison Ashford of Intec Printing Solutions in Hamworthy. “My 40-minute journey to work took one-and-a-half hours this morning.
“To arrive late for work on one day is bad enough but even if staff leave ridiculously early to get in on time it is still likely that they will arrive late.
“To expect to have to endure such unnecessary delays for the next six weeks is completely unacceptable in a supposedly developed country. Why on earth can’t these road works be carried out at night like elsewhere in the world?
”Miles of traffic jams clogged country roads as frustrated motorists sought to avoid congestion on the Upton bypass but just succeeded in creating more.
Blandford Road North was queued back past the Limberlost traffic lights and vehicles wound round the bends of Randalls Hill as drivers found there was no escape.
“It’s a pain,” said Sarajane Clark, 25, who lives in Creekmoor and works as a cleaner and waitress at the Bakers Arms.
“It took half-an-hour to get from Lytchett to Upton to take my child to nursery, rather than five minutes.”
Colleague Carly Goddard, 23, who lives on Turlin Moor said: “I’m just dreading going home. I have got to go along the dual-carriageway and all the way through town to get there.”
UPDATE: The county council are pledging to remove the cones to allow traffic to rejoin the carriageway at the junction with the A350. Resurfacing work should be finished by next Friday. Blandford Road, however is now to be closed in both directions after a sewer collapsed. All the details in our live story