A31 Ringwood improvement

Closed 4 Aug 2017

Opened 23 Jun 2017

Results Updated 17 Nov 2017

Following an in depth analysis of the of the work done to date as well as your feedback, we will proceed with developing Option 1, with the key concerns raised at consultation being further considered in the next stages of the scheme design and development.

Surveys have been carried out on the existing westbound bridges crossing the Avon and the Bickerley Millstream to determine whether they could be widened. The results have shown that we will replace the bridges as part of this project. Work on how we can mitigate any impact will continue in the next phase of the project and will involve key stakeholders, including the Environment Agency and other statutory environmental bodies.

Our consultation report provides further detail on the views and comments received throughout the consultation. A copy of the Consultation Report and our Preferred Route Announcement leaflet can be found below.

Files:

Overview

We are consulting on an option to improve the A31 at Ringwood between the A338/B3347 (Ringwood) junction and the B3081 (Verwood) junction.

Your views are important to us; they will help us to develop our proposal and understand what is important to our customers and local communities – whether you are a driver, cyclist, walker or local resident.

The consultation will run for 6 weeks from 23 June to 4 August 2017. During this time we will be holding a public exhibition over two days at Ringwood Town Council, Ringwood Gateway, The Furlong, Ringwood BH24 1AT. This will provide opportunity to come and meet the team and ask questions.

About the scheme

For full details and information visit the scheme page.

Our proposal - Option 1

Over the past year, we have been looking at three options and assessing whether they met the objectives for this scheme.

Our proposal, Option 1, contains a number of elements as outlined below:

Addition of a third lane on the A31

This extra lane would be Westbound on the off-side, to the right of the existing carriageway, utilising part of the existing central reserve and will be approximately one kilometre (0.6 miles) in length.

This would relieve the existing bottleneck, where traffic slows down or comes to a stop on this section of the A31.

As part of the addition of a third lane we will have to widen the existing bridges crossing the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream. Surveys are currently being carried out on the bridges to assess their condition to inform the design.

Closure of West Street access to the A31

Currently there is a safety issue where traffic joins the A31 from West Street. The difference in speed between joining traffic and traffic already travelling on the A31 leads to lane changing and weaving manoeuvres which in turn leads to noseto- tail ‘shunt’ type incidents.

To reduce the number of incidents at the junction, we propose to close West Street where it meets the A31.

We will provide space for vehicles to turn around at the end of West Street and traffic signs along approaching routes stating that there is no access to the A31 from West Street.

Our traffic surveys show that on a typical weekday, 84% of traffic using the West Street access to the A31 is using it as a short cut to avoid using the current bottleneck section of the A31. The remaining 16% is made up of people who stop in the town centre.

To improve safety, the proposal would also close the access and egress to and from the Fish Inn directly onto the A31. The access to the Fish Inn from West Street would remain open.

Reducing congestion

Our traffic data shows that currently the 1.7 mile journey from Poulner Hill (Southampton Road) to Verwood junction takes around 6 minutes, with cars averaging a speed of 17 mph. By 2020 this will reduce further to 13 mph.

With the proposed A31 Ringwood improvement, journey times will see cars average a speed of 51 mph and the journey time reducing to only 2 minutes.

By improving the movement of traffic for goods and people, Highways England will be helping to unlock future proposed developments and housing sites in south Hampshire. This will also improve the overall access to services.

Speed limits

We are aware of some concerns locally about the speed limit on the A31. We are currently carrying out a safety review of the A31 between the Ringwood and the Verwood junctions to identify if the current speed limit of 70mph is appropriate once the proposed improvements have been implemented. The findings of the safety review will be assessed and taken into account in the scheme’s developing design.

Rejected Options

We have looked at two other Options:

In Option 2 the access from West Street onto the A31 would not be closed but traffic calming would be introduced along West Street and the High Street to deter traffic using the West Street access. Keeping the access open would not reduce incidents on this section of the A31 and therefore Option 2 has been rejected because it would not meet the key objective for improved safety.

In Option 3 the access from West Street onto the A31 would not be closed nor would there be traffi c calming implemented along West Street and the High Street. Option 3 has also been rejected because it would not meet the key objective for improved safety.

As a result, we are not taking Options 2 and 3 forward to consultation.

For full details of our proposals view the scheme brochure.

Details of public exhibitions

To give you a chance to meet the team and ask us questions, we are holding a public exhibition at:

Ringwood Town Council,
Ringwood Gateway,
The Furlong,
Ringwood,
BH24 1AT

Friday 30 June from 15:00 until 20:00

Saturday 01 July from 10:00 until 16:00

Come down and see us, get more information about the schemes, and ask any questions you have about the proposals.

Alternatively, pick up a brochure and questionnaire from:

  • Ringwood Town Council office
  • New Forest District Council office
  • Ringwood Library
  • Ringwood Health and Leisure Centre
  • Motorway Service Area at Picket Post

We want to hear your views by 04 August 2017.

If you have questions, you can:

Audiences

  • All members of the public

Interests

  • Roads