A31 Ringwood road widening

Replacing 2 bridges and widening the A31 to 3 lanes at Ringwood, between the A31 junction for Ringwood town centre, the B3347 Mansfield Road and the B3081 Verwood Underpass.

Region:  South East
Start date:  2020-21
Cost:  ¬£25 to 30 million
Status:  PLANNED
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  TBC

Progress report

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.

What next?

We will commence the design stages and the scheme will be taken through the necessary planning and statutory procedures.

We will 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.


Date Event
Winter 2017 Consideration of improvements to Ringwood Town centre
Winter 2020 Detailed design completed
Spring 2021 Start of works
Winter 2022 Open to traffic

Why we need this scheme

The A31 is an important part of the Solent to Midlands route and also for the South Coast. It experiences delays at peak times caused by a high volume of traffic and by 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.

Part of our role is to maintain a safe and serviceable network and this includes monitoring the condition of our assets. We are therefore replacing the 2 bridges in this section of the A31 on the westbound carriageway to ensure they meet the demands of modern traffic flows.


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.

The key secondary objectives of this scheme are to:

  • reduce congestion on the A31 westbound for both day-to-day peak hour and seasonal holiday traffic between the A338 Ringwood westbound on-slip and the B3081 Verwood junction
  • improve journey times between the A338 Ringwood westbound on-slip and the B3081 Verwood junction
  • improve safety along the route and particularly at the junction with West Street and The Fish Inn pub
  • ensuring the experiences of those who are walking, cycling and horse-riding or using non-motorised vehicles such as mobility scooters, will not be adversely affected while travelling around Ringwood
  • replace life-expired bridges

Project media files and documents

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Project timeline

Planned roadworks

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