UPDATE: Thousands of motorists stuck in nine miles of queues after roadworks chaos on A338 Spur Road (From Bournemouth Echo)
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UPDATE: Thousands of motorists stuck in nine miles of queues after roadworks chaos on A338 Spur Road
DORSET highways bosses have been branded “out of touch” for closing a lane of the A338 during today's rush hour.
Furious motorists contacted the council to complain after being stuck in up to nine miles of queuing traffic while the A338 safety barrier was checked.
One lane of the northbound carriageway from Blackwater Junction to Ashley Heath was closed from 8pm on Monday while 5.5 miles of cones were put out.
The restrictions then caused chaos yesterday morning, with lengthy delays back to St Paul’s roundabout.
There were also knock-on effects in many other parts of Bournemouth, including Castle Lane, Northbourne and Queens Park.
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns took to Twitter to slam Dorset County Council’s decision to start the work on a weekday. He said: “Absolutely astonished to read of works causing delays on A338 this morning.
“Why on earth couldn’t it be done at weekend or overnight?
“Causing massive delays to people trying to get to work to pay taxes to fund those who make such out of touch decisions.”
JP Morgan employee Gayle Moore complained after it took her an hour to complete a 10-minute journey.
She said: “All other routes that I could have taken were equally snarled up, so there was no alternative to sitting in the traffic.
“I am sure there was some misplaced decision that they were saving taxpayers’ money by not doing this at night, over two days out of rush hour, using a rolling road block or doing this at weekends or school holidays.”
Contractors worked southbound against the flow of traffic, checking the safety barrier and removing the cones as they went. The lane was fully open by 4pm yesterday afternoon.
The closure was publicised via road signs, local media, and the Travel Dorset website and Twitter feed.
Council chief engineer John Burridge apologised for the disruption, but said the road safety works were essential and had to be carried out in daylight for better visibility.
“When planning this sort of work we look at traffic numbers and Tuesdays have less traffic than on other days in the week, but everyday has a lot of traffic flowing along the A338,” he said.
Mr Burridge said the work could not be carried out outside peak times as it would take longer, and the cones would have to remain in place resulting in greater disruption.
Other Spur Road controversies
THE Spur Road has been beset by traffic and roadworks-related controversies in recent years.
Earlier this year the road was part closed overnight for three days while the Welcome to Bournemouth sign was hoisted onto the Holdenhurst footbridge.
Nightmare traffic jams on July 8, exacerbated by minor crashes, left holidaymakers stuck in queues for hours.
In September 2010, a major makeover project was due to start, but although £1 million had already been spent on preparatory work, including clearing verges and removing rare sand lizards, the proposal fell afoul of government budget cuts and was shelved.
And in 2009, the route was twice criticised by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson for its heavy traffic.
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