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A338 Blackwater Improvements

A project team, led by Bournemouth Borough Council, is delivering junction improvements on the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road.

Stay up to date

For latest updates on the current work follow the project blog. You can check for live travel updates on a map.

Improvement work at Blackwater east junction were finished in July 2018. Work at Blackwater west junction is scheduled for Autumn 2019. These two elements will improve journey time reliability by improving traffic flow and alleviating congestion at the busy, signalised junction.

Work started on 3 September to improve the Blackwater Junction slip roads – with the scheme designed to improve traffic merging around the junction, and increase traffic capacity south of Blackwater towards Cooper Dean to cope with ever increasing vehicle numbers.

The work includes:

  • creating an extra southbound lane on the section of the A338 between Blackwater Junction towards Cooper Dean roundabout
  • improving the southbound ‘on slip’ to the A338 from the B3073 at Blackwater East Junction
  • improving the northbound ‘off slip’ from the A338 on to the B3073 at Blackwater West Junction
  • carrying out B3073 bridge protection works and widening the carriageway over the River Stour bridge including new parapets and safety fences

During most of this work, traffic will be reduced to one lane southbound and two lanes remaining for northbound traffic out of Bournemouth, in an effort to keep traffic queues out of the conurbation area.

During spring 2019 this traffic layout will change. Two lanes will remain northbound but one of these will be in a contraflow system on the southbound side of the carriageway, merging back onto the northbound side after the Blackwater Junction.

There will be a four week break in the work over the Christmas period, with four lanes open. A 40mph speed restriction may need to stay in place for the safety of drivers.

These improvements form part of the £45.2m investment in Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme, aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport, unlocking employment land and stimulating economic growth.

For more information about all the Blackwater works visit the project website.

Key dates/work phases

3 September

Preparation works – clearing tree and vegetation to allow carriageway widening for extension of slip road

14 September

The A338 lane closure will be removed overnight, with two lanes back in action by 6am Saturday morning.

For two weeks this section of road – from Blackwater to Cooper Dean – will be mostly free from traffic management with preparation work continuing away from the flow of traffic. There will be some off-peak daytime lane closures for material deliveries and associated work. We may also have some northbound off-peak closures.

30 September –  Southbound lane closure returns

Three nights of northbound and southbound road closures are planned for temporary steel barriers to be installed to create a safe working area and for essential maintenance along the A338 to be carried out. Litter picking, sign repairs and highway & bridge inspections will also take place.

The road will be closed between the A31 at Ashley Heath and the Cooper Dean roundabout from 8pm to 6am the following morning on Sunday and Tuesday. On Monday 1 October the northbound closures will start later to allow football supporters to travel home from the match.

Phase 1 works start

Works in the centre reservation with southbound lane 2 closed and northbound running two narrowed lanes. Both will have 40mph speed restriction.

Daytime work will involve bridge works to join together the two bridges that carry the road over the River Stour, and make extensive repairs to these bridges. Night time work will mainly be earthworks to widen the southbound carriageway into the central reservation.

Phase 2: mid-November

Bridge pier protection work will start – this will incorporate the existing bridge piers into a concrete protection barrier and allow for the slip road to be extended under the bridge (along with widening into central reservation). Widening works in the verge will also start, this requires a new, large, earth retaining wall to be built to allow widening of the verge for a whole extra lane of 3.65m.

Due to work at the bridge, the lane closure will be extended back up to Avon Causeway bridge. There is clear guidance from the Department for Transport on traffic management layout to ensure the safety of everyone on the road and these ‘Chapter 8’ are being followed to determine the length of our works area, and subsequent taper into a single lane.

Drivers will be asked to get in lane early – one for Blackwater turnoff, one to go into Bournemouth. Please allow drivers to merge in turn at the Blackwater on-slip.

10 December

Christmas break, back to four lanes but with 40mph restriction

6 January: work returns

Southbound lane 2 closure returns for widening work and bridge works

Phase 3: end of March 2019

Lane closure moves to northbound lane for widening work to start on northbound carriageway, along with bridge pier protection and bridge repairs.

Completion: June 2019

The project is due to be completed in June 2019.

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