THE first on-the-ground work on the £100 million south east Dorset transforming cities fund project will start in Bournemouth next month.

Protected cycle lanes are due to be installed on both sides of Whitelegg Way from the middle of May as part of new upgraded routes.

BCP Council’s director of transport, Julian McLaughlin, said the scheme would provide “greater options” for travelling across the area.

Four cycle routes will be created through the, mostly government-funded, project alongside two “sustainable travel corridors”.

Its aim is to encourage more people to use transport methods other than cars.

With a requirement of the £79 million Transforming Cities Fund grant that all work is finished within the next two years, the first parts are due to be started on May 17.

This will see segregated cycle lanes built on both sides of Whitelegg Way between the Redhill and Northbourne roundabouts – a feature of both the Merley to Christchurch and Bournemouth town centre to Ferndown routes.

Alongside this, the road’s speed limit will be reduced to 30mph and changes will be made to the slip road junction with Wimborne Road.

Existing crossings will also be upgraded or moved and bus stops will be improved.

At the same time, the shared path through Bournemouth Upper Gardens will also be upgraded with new lighting installed and resurfacing and widening works.

The eastern Prince of Wales Road and Queens Road pavement will also be widened to create a share cyclist and pedestrian path.

And the junctions of Prince of Wales Road, Benellen Avenue, Queens Road and Branksome Wood Road will be changed to give less priority to traffic.

“It’s all part of our ambition to transform local travel and give people greater options and confidence to get out and about locally without having to rely on the car,” BCP Council director of transport, Julian McLaughlin, said.

“The benefits of sustainable travel are well proven and are helping us to build a greener, healthier and better-connected region,” he added.

Both projects are due to start on May 17 and are expected to take about 20 weeks to complete.

The Transforming Cities Fund project is mostly funded through the government grant, awarded last year, but is topped up to £102 million through contributions from BCP and Dorset councils and several other organisations, including bus companies and Beryl.