ONE of the main roads through Bournemouth town centre will be closed off for three weeks to allow “essential repairs” to a water main.

The Bath Road flyover will be shut to traffic from Monday, January 27 until Friday, February 14, with no through route from the roundabout near Westover Road straight to Exeter Road.

Work, which is being carried out by Bournemouth Water, is required to replace 30 metres of pipe after engineers discovered a potential major issue when carrying out repairs a couple of months ago.

The utilities company says there is a “high likelihood of future failure” if the water main is not dealt with.

A diversion will go via Priory Road, West Cliff Road, Durley Road South, Durley Chine Road, Cambridge Road, A338 Wessex Way, St Paul’s Road, St Swithun’s Road South and Gervis Road.

Car parks in Bath Road will remain open and emergency services will still have access.

Jason Harvey, Bournemouth Water’s network and customer services manager, said: “We had a burst main on Bath Road last October and we repaired it without severe traffic or supply issues. During those repair works we identified weaknesses with the pipe and a high likelihood of future failure.

“The road will be closed for no more than three weeks for the pipe replacement works but this intervention will prevent future unplanned failures and traffic and supply disruption.”

The closure comes just months after Bath Road was suddenly shut off after a problem was found.

Highways maintenance work in August 2019 by BCP Council engineers led to the discovery of problems with the road structure.

An urgent inspection was carried out and located a water main leak in the area, which was dealt with by Bournemouth Water.

Cllr Andy Hadley, BCP Council cabinet member for transport, said: “Bournemouth Water require this road closure in order to undertake permanent repair works to their water main pipe. A signposted diversion will be in place via the A338 Wessex Way and local bus operators have been informed.

“An issue with the pipe was detected last year during a BCP Council routine highway inspection. In response to this Bournemouth Water carried out initial works which enabled the road to remain open during the busiest peak season.

“Since then we have worked with Bournemouth Water to identify a time period for them to return and carry out the permanent repairs needed whilst having the least impact on the town.

“To limit the impact on local residents, businesses and commuters, we will be making use of Bournemouth Water’s closure to carry out our own council works on the Bath Road flyover, including essential maintenance works on the safety rails and gullies."

Cllr Hadley added: “We’ve also coordinated with Southern Gas Networks and they will utilise the closure for their gas mains replacement project at Pier Approach.

“We appreciate the inconvenience that these essential utility works will cause and encourage people to allow extra time for their journeys.

“Access will be maintained to the Bath Road car parks, Hermitage Hotel and BIC.’’