From lockdown to gridlock as jams disrupt ferry operation

The sheer volume of traffic leaving Poole yesterday evening meant the Sandbanks Ferry had to stop taking vehicles from Studland to Sandbanks, as the slipway was gridlocked with traffic and there was no space to unload vehicles.

Encouraged by the hot weather, thousands flocked to the beaches but late into the evening, traffic was at a standstill with a long queue of vehicles on Ferry Road in Studland, waiting to get on the ferry.

Traffic queues on Haven Road in Sandbanks

Stationary traffic on Haven Road in Sandbanks

“No traffic movement”

At 10 pm on Wednesday 24th June 2020, Sandbanks Ferry posted this message on social media:

“Sandbanks is still gridlocked, we can only resume taking traffic to Poole side from Studland when this has cleared. There has been no traffic movement since our last post (at 9 pm). We are still taking vehicles from Poole side to Studland as usual.”

Traffic queues on Haven Road in Sandbanks

Traffic queuing on Haven Road in Sandbanks

“Sandbanks was crazy tonight”

Anthony Evans was trying to make his way home to Swanage via the ferry and praised the staff who had to deal with a lot of frustrated motorists:

“You guys did a brilliant job – Sandbanks was crazy tonight – it took well over 2 hours to get home from Westbourne to Swanage. I saw the 50 (bus) waiting on the Sandbanks’ slipway for over 40 minutes following its departure from the ferry. Haven’t seen traffic that bad since being held in queues on the M25. Awful tonight.”

The build up of the traffic started much earlier in the day and there were long queues on Haven Road in Sandbanks all day.

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Anti-social behaviour in Studland

While traffic police had to deal with the gridlock, Purbeck Police reported that it had to tackle anti-social behaviour in Studland. It posted on social media:

“We dealt with and extinguished a total of 8 BBQ’s on Bramble Bush Bay and located a number of people in different groups with tents erected planning to stay. They were forced to take down their tents and leave.

“We found a number of vehicles in what can only be described as selfish and inconsiderate parking. This included ones blocking emergency access to the heathland. A number of fines were issued to people during the shift.

“If I had any hair, I would be pulling it out!”

Car parked over emergency gate in Studland
Purbeck Police

Emergency road closures at Durdle Door

Meanwhile over the other side of the county, Dorset Council had to put emergency road closures in place on the approach roads to Durdle Door due to the high number of vehicles heading to the beach.

Dorset Council said:

“We are closing the access roads to Durdle Door. The number of cars in the car park has reached a level where we have safety concerns for people using these narrow rural roads.”

“Please DO NOT come to Dorset yet”

With hot weather forecast again today, people are being asked to think twice before heading to Dorset.

Vikki Slade the leader of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP) Council Tweeted:

“Please DO NOT come to Dorset yet. We are NOT ready. Hotels, attractions, museums and restaurants are closed. Your visit will be much more enjoyable if you come after 4th July when we will be fully prepared for your visit. Thanks, The People of Dorset!”

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