Poole Bridge is set for a major overhaul, with repair work costing £4.7 million starting next week. This is part of a series of major transport schemes to improve access into and around the Port of Poole.
Poole Bridge will be closed to all road traffic, including cyclists and pedestrians, for nine months starting on Monday 12 September 2016.
Road users are advised to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys while the bridge remains closed.
A fully signed local diversion route will be in place via the Twin Sails Bridge. A temporary bus timetable to extend Route 152 to Lower Hamworthy on a half-hourly service is now in operation. In addition the timings of the traffic signals at the Rigler Road junction will be altered to help improve traffic flow.
The footpath on the Twin Sails Bridge approaches to Blandford Road has been widened to help pedestrians and in particular people with pushchairs, buggies and mobility scooters.
Mariners will be largely unaffected as the bridge’s lifting leaves will be left in an open position for most of the works. This also means that the Twin Sails Bridge will not have to lift as often and so will follow its maintenance lifting schedule for Twin Sails lifts.
Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: “Poole Bridge opened in May 1927 so it is not surprising that the bridge’s ageing approach spans are worn out and need to be completely replaced. Doing nothing would eventually lead to the bridge being permanently closed to traffic, so it's excellent that we have secured the funds to enable these essential works to take place.
“We appreciate these works will cause some unavoidable disruption to road users. We have taken every opportunity to minimise the impact this will have on people and would encourage drivers to start thinking about the steps they can take including allowing extra time for their journeys.
“We anticipate Poole Bridge being reopened for public use in June 2017, and would like to thank everyone for their patience in the meantime while these major improvements are carried out."
Possible steps to help make this closure easier for drivers include:
• starting your journey earlier or later than usual to avoid peak rush hour
• considering car sharing. You can find your car share partner with carsharedorset.com, a free website linking drivers and passengers across Dorset
• using alternative means of travel such as walking and cycling
The bridge's approach spans (the parts of the bridge that carry traffic from the land to the main section of the bridge) are over 85 years old. Despite regular maintenance, the spans are worn out and need complete replacement. In addition the supporting abutments and piles also require replacement. The footways across the bridge will be widened to 2.5m and will also be suitable for use by cyclists. To avoid a further closure, during the course of the structural works, the lifting control system will be replaced. The works will be undertaken by Interserve, the international support services and construction group.
Cllr Drew Mellor, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: "We are fully committed to ensuring Poole continues to benefit from a two bridge crossing. The extensive refurbishment being carried out at Poole Bridge is part of a much wider co-ordinated programme that will see the A31 to the Port of Poole benefit from significant investment over the next few years.”
Lorna Carver, director of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “This significant investment into Poole Bridge secures a vital transport route into the port. The full structural upgrade of the bridge’s approach spans is part of a £23.3 million investment into and around the Port of Poole, secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership through the government’s growth deal.
"Improving the area’s infrastructure will secure industrial, residential and visitor growth and deliver long-term economic benefits to the region.”
To keep up to date on the progress of these improvements you can visit poole.gov.uk/PooleBridge, subscribe to receive the monthly Travel and Roads e-newsletter direct to your inbox by clicking on the ‘email me’ sign up button at poole.gov.uk or follow Borough of Poole on Facebook and Twitter (#PooleBridge).