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Fury as roadworks cause gridlock across Bournemouth
MAJOR half-term roadworks across Bournemouth caused gridlock yesterday leading to widespread delays.
Resurfacing is taking place on Christchurch between St Swithun’s Road roundabout and Manor Road, part of the Three Towns Travel initiative to improve journeys between Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
Further congestion resulted from Bournemouth council works to construct a central island in Bath Hill in the town centre, as well as gas works in Alma Road, Winton and Charminster Road and water works in Poole Road.
The works led to delays of up to 30 minutes on Yellow Bus routes through the town.
Some car drivers, meanwhile, reported taking up to an hour to get from Boscombe to the town centre.
One said: “It isn’t a great advert for Bournemouth for anyone visiting.”
Yellow Buses’ marketing head Jenni Wilkinson said the bus network had suffered numerous delays as a result of 23 planned roadworks.
“This seriously impacts on bus services, other road users and affects local businesses,” she said.
“These are in addition to the many emergency or temporary works that happen without any notice and commence regardless of the disruption other roadworks in the area may be causing.
“Currently, some of our bus services are being affected on multiple sections of their route. And although we will do all we can to mitigate and manage delays, it is becoming virtually impossible due to the unusually high number of roadworks.
“Unfortunately, the delays are compounded by local traffic looking for alternative routes.”
Nigel Hedges, president of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said the works were necessary to modernise the town’s infrastructure.
“There is never a good time to have roadworks but there is less traffic during half-term and parents are more likely to take their kids out to attractions rather than the shops these days,” he said.
“The problem is Bournemouth is three-sided, unless you have a submarine, and if one main road is blocked, it affects all the others.”
Council highways design manager Anthony Kirby said: “In terms of the Christchurch Road resurfacing works, traffic levels during the peak morning and late afternoon periods typically reduce during the school holidays.
“This presented an opportunity for works to be undertaken during this normally busy period, extending the contractors’ hours around these times to establish a longer than normal 12-hour working shift.
“While we acknowledge that there will still be periods of disruption to traffic, we have been able to ensure that the road works are completed within one week.”