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.

Start date 2020-21
End date TBC
Cost £25 to 30 million

Latest updates

  • 06 April 2021

    Meet the team virtual events

    Thank you to everyone who attended our meet the team sessions held at the end of March. These virtual sessions aim to provide you with more information about the project and gives you the chance to ask us questions. It also provides us with the opportunity to gather feedback and gain knowledge from the local community to help us to plan our work.

    For those unable to attend, we will be adding the information from the sessions to this page. You can also get in touch by email: a31ringwood@highwaysengland.co.uk, or if you’d to speak to someone, call Highways England on 0300 123 5000 and they will pass this on to the project team.

    We will be holding more sessions later in the year as we get closer to our work starting on the A31.

    Work begins to divert electricity cable

    The project will be completed in stages, and before we start work on the A31, we need to move some existing utilities. We will be rebuilding and widening both road bridges on the westbound carriageway, and work to move the electricity cable that runs through the existing bridges started on 31 March.

    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 the street.  

    We’re due to complete this diversion by the end of July 2021.

  • 16 March 2021

    Like to know more about our work on the A31?

    We’re hosting some virtual ‘meet the team’ events, in line with the current restrictions, where you can hear more about our improvements and the work we need to do before we start on the A31, from the comfort of your own home or workplace. There will also be the opportunity to ask the team any questions you may have.

    The sessions will be held on Microsoft Teams and we’re limiting the numbers to make sure everyone can ask any questions they may have. Places will be issued on a first come, first served basis. We’ll add more dates and times if sessions get booked up, making sure everyone can take part.

    Please email a31ringwood@highwaysengland.co.uk stating which session you would like to attend. We’ll then confirm your booking and send you more information about how to join.

    A31 meet the team sessions:

    Monday 29 March: 10:00am – 11.30am or 2:30pm – 4pm

    Tuesday 30 March: 10:00am – 11:30am or 4pm – 5:30pm

    If you’d be interested in attending a session later in the day, let us know and we’ll set one up. We’ll also be providing the opportunity to have call with one of the team for anyone unable to attend the virtual sessions.

    West Street progress

    The junction of West Street with the A31 was closed on 1 March and the contractors are currently building a permanent barrier.

    Please visit Hampshire County Council’s website for more information about the other activities being carried out in West Street.

    Surveys and ground investigations update

    We started our overnight surveys on Monday 8 March to gather more information about the gas main running along the A31. These are progressing well, and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience.

    We’ve completed our work in the central reservation and our team has moved to the A31 westbound slip road. As a reminder, the slip road will be closed, and a signed diversion will be in place between 8pm and 6am, Monday to Friday. The slip road will be open as usual during the day. No work will be carried out on Saturday and Sunday evening.

    These investigations will be completed by Friday 26 March.

    Utility diversions

    Towards the end of March, an electricity cable will be moved from alongside the A31. The new route will 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. We’re due to complete this diversion by the end of July 2021.

    Keeping up-to-date

    We’re sending out a regular newsletter to keep everyone up-to-date with our work to improve the A31 Ringwood.

    If you would like to be added to our distribution list, please email a31ringwood@highwaysengland.co.uk asking to be added. You can ask to be removed at any time.

    Or if you’d to speak to someone from the project team, call Highways England on 0300 123 5000

  • 04 March 2021

    Surveys and ground investigations

    This month our contractors will be carrying out ground investigations and surveys along the A31 at Ringwood. We're looking to find out more about the gas main that runs close to the A31 to help us plan our upgrade works.

    We'll start by digging some holes within the central reservation. This will be done using a small digger to keep noise to a minimum, and there will be some temporary lighting around our working area. To keep everyone safe, we will be closing the two lanes either side of the central reservation on the A31 while we complete these investigations.

    We'll then move to the westbound A31 entry slip road to carry out some further ground investigations, and the slip road will be fully closed to protect those working in the road – please follow signed diversion routes. 

    These works will start on Monday 8 March, with both sites finished by Friday 26 March. To reduce the impact on traffic, we will be working overnight with closures in place between 8pm and 6am; the roads will be open as normal during the day. We won't be working on Saturday and Sunday nights.

    West Street improvements

    Hampshire County Council started work in West Street to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists in February and access to the A31 from West Street closed at the start of March.

    To create the new lane, we need to move an electricity cable from the bridges crossing the river, to West Street. This will be completed while Hampshire County Council are also working in the street to keep disruption to a minimum.

    Please visit Hampshire County Council’s website for more information about the other activities being carried out in West Street.

    The work in West Street is due to finish by the end of July 2021.

    We’ll also be setting up some temporary site offices in the car park of the Fish Inn in early March, these will provide facilities for staff working on the scheme.

  • 02 February 2021

    Improvement work to start on West Street, Ringwood

    We’ve been busy working on our plans to improve the A31 Ringwood – one of the most congested stretches of road in our network. We’ll start our work to widen the road later this year, but ahead of this you may notice some other activities linked to our improvements.

    Our plans will see access to the A31 from West Street closed permanently for safety reasons, as traffic joining from this junction poses a risk to drivers. Ahead of the closure, Hampshire County Council will be working in West Street from 15 February, to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists to complement the improvements along the A31. More information about the improvements can be found on Hampshire County Council’s website

    Access to the A31 from West Street will be permanently closed from 1 March.

    To save time and keep disruption to a minimum, we’re also bringing forward some of the other activities planned for West Street. This means the following work will all take place at the same time: 

    • widening the footpath along the west side of West Street to improve accessibility for cyclists and walkers.
    • new kerbs and environmental planting.
    • building a new footpath over the ‘brick bridge’.
    • widening the footpath over the ‘old Stony’.
    • introducing new priority give way signs at both bridges to accompany the new and improved footpaths over them.
    • resurfacing both bridges.
    • laying new electrical cable along the length of West Street in advance of the A31 works.

    The work in West Street is scheduled to finish by the end of July 2021.

    We also need to divert a water main ahead of work starting our improvements on the A31. More information about this will be available soon.

  • 03 August 2020

    Design work gets under way

    We're beginning the design stages and the scheme will be taken through the necessary planning and statutory procedures.

    We'll continue to work closely with our stakeholders, including with the local authorities to identify improvements within Ringwood Town Centre, which may be delivered in conjunction with the A31 scheme.

  • 03 July 2020

    Preliminary design stage completed

    The preliminary design stage for this project is now complete and the contractor VolkerFitzpatrick has been appointed to undertake the detailed design work and construction.

    The project has been expanded to include a second scheme from our Operations Division which involves replacing the 2 bridges in this section of the A31 on the westbound carriageway. Combining the 2 schemes is an efficient way for us to deliver them both while also reducing the disruption caused to the network, providing an improved service for our customers.

    Traffic Management and diversion routes during the construction phase are currently being carefully assessed. These are being developed to provide the least disruptive solution possible for road users.

    In order to achieve the delivery of the scheme, we’ve been in contact with our key stakeholders and the statutory environmental bodies, regularly keeping them up to date on the scheme.

    Information on the preferred route announcement made in 2017, including a copy of the reports, can be found on our consultation page.

Project information


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.


Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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