A MAJOR £450,000 roadworks scheme that was put on hold after the introduction of social distancing will restart in Swanage on Monday morning.

Dorset Council highways workers will return to the town centre, where they will continue work to widen the footpaths on Institute Road.

This means for at least the next five weeks traffic signals will be back in place, with Institute Road closed to traffic and the one-way flow on Kings Road East reversed – as it was before the lockdown forced the project's postponement in March.

Councillor Gary Suttle, Swanage ward member at Dorset Council, said: "Although residents are still coming into the town centre as part of their daily exercise or to pick up food and other essential goods, there will be far fewer pedestrians around at the moment – making this an ideal time to complete these enhancement works.

“We want to get this work finished to ensure the best start for Swanage businesses when they are able to reopen. And to be able to welcome the return of visitors with a smart new shopping experience.”

In the weeks before the lockdown, as the roadworks continued, town residents and visitors reported lengthy delays in and out of Swanage.

Council officials say the project is now able to restart after the Government updated guidance for construction activity.

The Department for Transport says roadworks can continue as long as they adhere with current Public Health England requirements and industry safety guidelines.

Methods in Swanage will be revised to reduce the number of workers on site.

Dorset Council's other Swanage ward member , Cllr Bill Trite, said: "Please help protect our community and workforce by respecting social distancing recommendations around the works area."

A council spokesman explained the project is being carried out to address concerns of heavy vehicles mounting busy pavements to pass vehicles in the loading bay.

New loading bays will be introduced at either end of Institute Road.