A PHASED multi-million-pound project to improve traffic flow around a junction with the A338 has finally been completed.

Work at Blackwater junction on the dual carriageway and B3073, which cost a total of £11.2million, has been taking place in different forms for the past couple of years.

The final scheme in a series of works included an altered layout to the traffic lights on the junction near Hurn and a dedicated on-slip onto the A338 northbound. It was finished on schedule after nine months – despite challenges created by the coronavirus.

It was funded through the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and forms part of the Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) programme.

Jim Stewart, chair of Dorset LEP said: "The BIG Programme is in its penultimate year and this phase of work is an important milestone achievement in the programme that is improving transport links, easing congestion and supporting employment around Bournemouth Airport.

“Continuing to deliver important infrastructure improvements in Bournemouth that benefit Dorset’s wider economy and business community are critical, now more so than ever before.”

The work was carried out in partnership between BCP Council and Dorset Council and was reportedly on budget.

Councillor Andy Hadley, BCP Council cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “Marking the end of a series of major infrastructure investment schemes in the local area, I am pleased to see these improvements completed on time and on budget.”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, added: “My thanks goes to everyone on the project team for keeping the improvements on track during these exceptional times, and adapting working methods to ensure the safety of the construction workforce.”

Previous elements of the Blackwater project included the new extended slip road onto the A338 southbound and changes to the layout at the traffic lights on the St Catherine’s Hill side of the B3073.

While traffic issues were limited in the final phase of work, motorists experienced months of extended journey times as earlier elements of the development were carried out.