A31 Ringwood road widening
Widening the A31 to three lanes at Ringwood, between the A31 junction for Ringwood town centre, the B3347 Mansfield Road and the B3081 Verwood Underpass.
The A31 is an important route between Bournemouth and the Southern Coast. It experiences delays at peak times, which is caused by a high volume of traffic and the number of junctions that are close together. The route also experiences heavy seasonal congestion during the summer months, particularly during the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Our scheme will add a third lane in the westbound direction providing additional capacity. Traffic joining from the Ringwood junction onto A31 will do so via a new lane, rather than trying than merge with traffic already on the road.
We’ll be replacing the bridges that take the road over the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream, and they will be widened to allow for the additional lane.
The access to the A31 from West Street, Ringwood, will be closed, as the difference in speed between vehicles joining from West Street and those already on the A31, poses a risk for drivers.
We’re also working closely with Ringwood Town Council, Hampshire County Council and the New Forest District Council to improve routes for cyclists and pedestrians around Ringwood and the surrounding area.
The scheme will help achieve the following key strategic outcomes, as outlined in the Highways England Delivery Plan 2015-2020
Supporting Economic Growth
Supporting the development of housing and the creation of jobs, as set out in the existing and emerging Local Plans.
A safe serviceable network
Improving road safety for all road users. Due to the improvements being designed to modern highway standards appropriate for a strategic road, safety will be improved as a result of a reduction in delays, congestion and queue lengths.
A more free-flowing network
Increasing the resilience of the road in coping with incidents such as collisions, breakdowns, maintenance and extreme weather. The improved route at A31 Ringwood will be more reliable, reducing journey times and providing capacity for future traffic growth.
An improved environment
Protecting the environment from adverse impacts during and post construction for those living along the existing A31 Ringwood and minimising the impact of new infrastructure on the natural and built environment. Focus during stage 3 of the works will be in reducing construction related impacts on nearby sensitive ecological receptors, namely migratory salmon.
An accessible and integrated network
Ensuring the proposals take into account local communities and access to the road network, providing a safer route between communities for cyclists, walkers, equestrians and other non-motorist groups.
Value for Money
Ensuring that the scheme is affordable and delivers good value for money.
As part of our improvements, the access to the A31 from West Street, Ringwood, was permanently closed on 1 March 2021. Traffic coming onto the A31 at this junction posed a risk to drivers already on the road and those joining.
In February 2021, Hampshire County Council started work in West Street to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists. These improvements have been funded through our Designated Funds, and look to link local walking and cycling routes. More information about the work can be found on Hampshire County Council’s website.
To minimise disruption, we’ve also been able to bring forward some other activities for West Street, including:
- Laying a new section of duct along the length of West Street for the A31 electricity cable diversion
- Resurfacing of both bridges on West Street
- Widening the footway on the north side of West Street
- Widening the footway on the north side of ‘The Stony Bridge’
The work in West Street should be finished by end of July 2021.
Before we start work on the A31, we need to move some existing utilities.
As we will be rebuilding and widening both road bridges on the westbound carriageway, work to move the electricity cable that runs through the existing bridges started on 31 March 2021. The cable will be diverted to run along West Street, through a section of Market Place and connect into the network in the car park of St Peter and St Paul’s church. To minimise disruption, this work has been timed to be completed at the same time as Hampshire County Council’s work in West Street.
South West Water will start work to divert a water main away from the A31 in May 2021. The new pipe will run through Ringwood town centre, the field near Verwood and under the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream. Although there hasn’t been any issues with this section of pipe historically the new pipe will make the network more resilient. This work is due to finish in late autumn 2021.
Our final utility diversion is a BT cable that is within the road bridges. The current proposal is that a temporary cable will be put under the A31 eastbound carriageway while we rebuild the bridges. To enable us to lay the temporary cable safely, we’ll need to temporarily close the A31 westbound. This will be done overnight to minimise impact on traffic. We’ll give you as much notice as possible of the closure to allow you to plan ahead. The permanent new cable will be installed once the new bridges are in place.