THREE weeks of overnight closures will begin on the A31 from Monday as new signs are installed.

Different sections of the busy dual carriageway will be fully closed on various evenings from Monday August 18 until Monday September 8.

The new signage is a result of a long-running campaign by Ringwood Town Council and residents to improve the safety of the road after a number of serious accidents.

More than 70 new signs will be installed.

Full overnight closures of the westbound carriageway between the M27 and A338 Ringwood roundabout will take place between 10pm and 6am this Monday and Tuesday, Tuesday August 26, Wednesday August 27, Monday September 1 and Tuesday September 2.

Further overnight closures on the westbound carriageway between Poulner Hill and the Verwood Interchange are scheduled for Thursday August 28, Wednesday September 3, Thursday September 4 and Monday September 8.

The closures on the eastbound carriageway will be carried out between the Ashley Heath roundabout and the M27, between 10pm and 6am, on Wednesday August 20 and Thursday August 21.

Drivers travelling westbound will be diverted via the A326, A35, A3060 and A338 and those heading in the eastbound direction will be diverted via the A338, A3060, A35 and A326.

The work comes about after campaigners fought for the speed limit from Picket Post to Ringwood to be reduced to 50mph from 70mph, following a series of serious accidents.

But despite a major campaign, backed by residents and politicians, the Highways Agency said driver error rather than speed was to blame for the collisions and recommended improved signage.

Ringwood Town councillor, Michael Thierry has welcomed the start of the work.

He said: “I really do feel it will make life a lot easier for motorists.

“They will be much better informed of how the road system works.

“I hope they will yield a dramatic improvement. I have been a heavy critic of the Highways Agency but I am impressed with their plans.”

Philip Sheppard, Highways Agency asset manager said: “Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency and the installation of these signs will help drivers on their journeys along the A31, helping them pick the right lanes for their trip and avoid last minute lane changes.

“Installing these signs will require overnight closures of the A31 but as well as installing these signs we will use this opportunity to carry out road surface repairs and maintenance work on roadside drainage.”