DRIVERS faced long delays on the A338 Wessex Way yesterday after the resurfaced carriageway sent billows of dust into the air.

One motorist said she believed there was a serious fire nearby as a result of the problems, while other drivers turned their fog lights on in a bid to navigate through the dense cloud.

As reported, engineers for BCP Council started work on surface dressing along the route in a bid to prevent potholes earlier this week.

The work will finish today, Thursday. However, it has caused lengthy delays in both directions between Cooper Dean and Springbourne.

Yesterday’s evening rush hour saw long queues on the northbound carriageway.

A motorist, who was returning to Hampshire, said: “At first I thought I was looking at a fire, the dust cloud was so bad. 

“I really thought something was ablaze. Then I realised the cars were going really slowly on the in-bound carriageway and realised it was because of the new surface.

“It looked awful and the dust must have really affected the drivers who went through it.”

Another motorist said: “The dust is absolutely unbelievable and I’m astonished that it’s been dealt with this way.“You can barely see through the dust. It’s a horrible type of stuff that you usually see on country roads. I’ve never seen this done on a major road like the A338 before.”

“I went through during the early afternoon and the queues trail back to Blackwater Junction in one direction and to St Paul’s Roundabout in the other.”

Morebus was forced to cancel two X6 services between Ringwood and Bournemouth due to the roadworks and “excessive congestion” yesterday afternoon.

Video taken by the Daily Echo shows thick dust rising from the road surface. There is also a covering of the dust on nearby vegetation and the ground.

Gary Powell, BCP Council’s head of highways and transportation, said: “These road maintenance works involve the laying of a repair surface dressing on both sections of the A338, where road surface deterioration has occurred and essential repairs are necessary.

“The new material consists of a stone aggregate and binder top layer that seals the road surface and acts as a preventative repair against the forming of more costly road defects. 

“To ensure the new aggregate stone binds to the road surface and dust is kept to a minimum, a temporary advisory speed limit is being put in place as the road is reopened to traffic.

"On the following day, a further treatment will be applied to the road to lock the aggregate in place which will also cut down the level of dust.”

Julian McLaughlin, director of growth and infrastructure for BCP Council, said: “Our road condition surveys show that these roads need to be repaired to prevent further deterioration and potholes from forming. 

“Unfortunately, there will be some disruption to road users.”

Sections of the Wessex Way from County Gates to the Cooper Dean flyover will be closed overnight on Monday and Tuesday next week – July 15 and 16 – to enable additional highways maintenance works, including grass cutting and litter picking, to be carried out.

From 8.30pm on the Monday until 4am the following morning, there will be a full road closure from County Gates to St Paul’s roundabout.