A CONTROVERSIAL new speed limit will be introduced on one of Dorset’s busiest dual carriageways from next week.

The limit on the A3049 Dorset Way, from Holes Bay to its junction with Ringwood Road, is dropping to 50mph.

Safety concerns have prompted the reduction from the national speed limit, with a quarter of Poole’s road deaths having occurred on the Dorset Way in the last four years.

But critics argue a 50mph limit is not appropriate for a dual carriageway and speed is only a factor in a small proportion of accidents.

Driver Marie Stickland, who lives in Fleetsbridge and uses the road every day, said she felt there was no need for a new lower limit.

She said: “Nine times out of 10 accidents are caused by driver error and if someone wants to speed, they will do so regardless of the limit.

“There is no need to punish normal motorists just trying to get from A to B.

“You can’t even drive at 50mph along there at peak times anyway.”

An Echo poll last year found almost two-thirds of readers to be against the reduction in the Dorset Way’s speed limit.

Steve Tite, principal manager at Poole council, said: “The fact there have been two fatalities on this road since these proposals were first considered last year shows the lower limits are needed.”

Motorists were left in limbo over the weekend as the new 50mph signs began to replace the old national speed limit indicators.

The mixture of signage created some confusion but the council said the work would be completed this week and the new limit enforced from Monday.

Mr Tite said: “I would ask drivers to bear with us while the works are being carried out.

“Changing a large number of speed limit signs on roads such as this takes time and unfortunately this has led to some confusion.”