UPDATE: Motorists warned to brace for traffic chaos as half of Richmond Hill roundabout to be closed off for three weeks (From Bournemouth Echo)
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UPDATE: Motorists warned to brace for traffic chaos as half of Richmond Hill roundabout to be closed off for three weeks
MOTORISTS are being warned to prepare for weeks of traffic chaos as a key route into Bournemouth town centre is blocked off.
Half the Richmond Hill roundabout will be cordoned off overnight on Monday and will remain out of action for at least three weeks.
The closure is needed to allow the bridgedeck on the east side of the roundabout, between the two sliproads, to be waterproofed and repaired. It is being done at the same time as safety improvements, including new cycle lanes, are made to the Richmond Hill roundabout.
But it will prove a major headache for drivers. Motorists travelling into Bournemouth from Poole will have to travel down to the St Paul’s Roundabout and double back on themselves and drivers coming from the Charminster direction will also have to turn left and go to St Paul’s.
The lane restrictions that have seen the Richmond Hill slip-road reduced to one lane will be removed but it is inevitable the move will lead to lengthy tailbacks on the Wessex Way.
John Tye, chair of the Bournemouth Taxi Trade Association, said: “It’s going to be three weeks of high inconvenience and hell and my sympathy is with the travelling public who will be inconvenienced and suffer increased costs.
“Because of the way the town is designed, it doesn’t take much to bring Bournemouth to a standstill and I think we will be seeing that a few times over the next few weeks.
“There’s nothing we can do about it, we have to just put up with it, but it is going to be a very difficult few weeks.”
And Nigel Hedges, chair of the Bournemouth Town Centre Management Board, said: “Restrict the Richmond Hill roundabout and it will cause knock-on problems east, west and north.
“Up until this point, whilst there has been plenty of warnings, traffic flow has been somewhat delayed accessing the A338. Further restrictions can only exacerbate the temporary delays.”
However, he said repairs to the ageing bridgedeck were probably overdue and said that while there was never a good time to do such work, now was probably the best you could get.
“One can only hope that, once done, this work will allow traffic to flow more freely and make all users, especially cyclists and motorcyclists, safer,” he said.
Ian Kalra, transportation services manager for Bournemouth council, advised drivers to use alternative routes if possible.
“We apologise for the further disruption caused during these critical activities, but please be assured we have planned the works so as to minimise the effects on the public as far as possible.”
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