THERE are delays of up to one hour on the A338 southbound this morning.

The southbound carriageway is reduced to one lane at Blackwater. 

Delays are being reported on all approaches at Hurn Roundabout, Parley Cross and Iford Roundabout. 

The next phase of the multi million pound improvements to Blackwater junction began on Sunday with three consecutive nights of northbound and southbound closures.

This is to ensure temporary steel barriers can be installed to create a safe working area to carry out essential maintenance.

Where will the road be closed from?

The road will be closed between the A31 at Ashley Heath and the Cooper Dean roundabout.

When will it be closed?

Sunday night from 8pm to 6am. People coming to Bournemouth for Arts by the Sea will need to be aware of this.

Monday night from around 8pm to 6am southbound and 11pm to 6am northbound to allow the football supporters to travel home from the match.

Tuesday night from 8pm until 6am.

What is happening in the daytime?

From Monday, the southbound carriageway will be reduced to one lane again 24 hours a day, and the northbound carriageway will run two narrowed lanes. Both carriageways will have a 40mph speed limit in force for driver safety.

What is this work for?

It is to remove the existing barriers from the road. The following week, daytime work will involve bridge works to join together the two brides that carry the road over the River Stour. Extensive repairs need to be made to these bridges.

Night time work will mainly be earthworks to widen the southbound carriageway into the central reservation.

What about the M27 closure?

The M27 is closed until 5am on Monday. It will be closed from junction three to five to allow work to rebuild Romsey Road bridge.

Traffic will be diverted as the motorway will be closed until 5am on Monday. Westbound traffic faces a 58 mile diversion, driving up as far as Andover and the A303, out to Salisbury and back round to Southampton.

This will turn a ten-minute drive into a two-hour loop of Hampshire.

When will the lanes be open again?

We expect to have all lanes open between 10 December 2018 and 7 January 2019.

What have the council said about this latest work?

Gary Powell, Head of Traffic, Engineering and Major Projects, Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Bournemouth is very much open for business and we would encourage residents and visitors to make full use of the retail, activities and events on offer, especially in the run up to Christmas.

“We appreciate these works will cause delays. There is never a good time to carry out these works but it does need to be done. The Spur Road is over 60 years old and was not built to cope with the current levels of road traffic. Our traffic modelling indicates that road traffic could increase by 20% over the next 12 years so these improvements are essential to ensure this main route into Bournemouth is fit for purpose and supports economic growth in the area.

“Drivers should try to plan ahead if they can, allowing extra time for journeys, finding alternative routes or travelling during off peak periods when delays will be minimal.”

Lorna Carver, director of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Transport links are Dorset’s number one impediment to business growth. The current works on the A338 at the Blackwater Junction are part of a multi-million-pound infrastructure scheme to address this very issue. They are an essential part of Dorset LEP’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme’s plans that will see the county benefit from thousands of new jobs, increased productivity, more housing and improved connectivity.

Major road improvements of this scale will inevitably cause unavoidable delays. While frustrating for drivers affected, we would like to remind people of the significant long term economic benefits this investment is bringing Dorset."

What happens in the New Year?

From January to mid March: widening of lane one southbound

Mid March to mid April 2019: works to lane two northbound

Mid April to the end of June 2019: Widening of lane one northbound

More details about the work:

Phase 2: Mid-November

Bridge pier protection work will start – this will incorporate the existing bridge piers into a concrete protection barrier and allow for the slip road to be extended under the bridge (along with widening into central reservation).

Widening works in the verge will also start, this requires a new, large, earth retaining wall to be built to allow widening of the verge for a whole extra lane of 3.50m.

Due to work at the bridge, the lane closure will be extended back up to Avon Causeway bridge.

Drivers will be asked to get in lane early – one for Blackwater turnoff, one to go into Bournemouth. Please allow drivers to merge in turn at the Blackwater on-slip.

10 December: Christmas break

Back to four lanes but with 40mph restriction

6 January: Work returns

One lane open southbound for widening work and bridge works

Phase 3: end of March 2019

Lane restrictions move to northbound lane for widening work to start on northbound carriageway, along with bridge pier protection and bridge repairs.

Completion: June 2019