A MAJOR rebuild of the A338 Spur Road could begin as early as next spring after the government agreed to plough £66.4million into Dorset.
The road is seen as crucial to creating jobs by unlocking the potential of the industrial land at Bournemouth Airport.
As well as refurbishing the worn-out A338, the money should add a lane to the stretch between the Cooper Dean and Blackwater junctions.
The idea of a new link road to the airport has been ruled impractical, but there will be improvements to the key junctions near Aviation Park – including the Hurn roundabout, Chapel Gate and the Blackwater interchange.
Gordon Page, chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said of the Spur Road scheme: “At long last we’re going to do it.”
He said there would be a “proper rebuild of the road”.
He added: “I would seriously hope that we could start next spring, early summer. We’ve said we’re shovel-ready – to my knowledge we are and we should do it.”
Transport minister Baroness Kramer, who was at Bournemouth Airport yesterday, said: “This is an airport that’s growing, that has exciting plans for the future. Its owners have invested heavily in it but obviously the road access is poor so this will be to improve the A338 and other kinds of improvements to try and help that connectivity and the future of the airport.”
John Twigg, planning director with Manchester Airports Group, said: “This is really good news for us because there’s one thing that our passengers, employers on the business park and investors need and that’s good and reliable access. That’s one of the things we’ve found difficult over the years. As the roads have got more congested, it’s got more difficult to persuade any of those people to use Bournemouth Airport.”
Yesterday’s announcement included plans for 200 homes near Bournemouth Airport, in addition to 2,500 around Poole, as well as 42,000 square metres of commercial floor space at the airport.
Cllr Ray Nottage, leader of Christchurch council, said: “It’s very good news for Christchurch.”
He added the most important aspect was the “long-term development opportunity which exists in the industrial sector and business park”.
Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth council, said the announcement promised “long-term economic growth for Dorset”.
He added: “It’s good for jobs. Many of those who work in the industrial land are Bournemouth residents, particularly from the north of the borough.”