Highways team back in Swanage after shut down

Following a seven week freeze on all construction work in Swanage’s town centre, the work starts again today, Monday 4th May 2020. 

The safety improvement scheme was dramatically halted back in March, as the UK Government issued emergency legislation to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Pavement to be completed in Institute Road

Pavement on the eastern side of Institute Road still needs to be finished

While much had been completed including a new crossing with wider pavements in Station Road and a new central traffic island and loading bay near Boots, there was still work to do to finish widening the pavements in Institute Road.

Work will now start in Institute Road to finish the western pavement (town side) and that is expected to take a few days depending on the weather. It will then take around a further five weeks to complete the widening of the eastern pavement (beach side) and to finish the drainage improvements.

Haymans Bakery in Institute Road

The work in Institute Road was left unfinished when it was halted in March 2020

Social distancing rules 

The go-ahead to restart the project came after a Dorset Council Highways assessment that the work could be safely carried out within social distancing rules and health and safety guidelines. 

Working methods have been revised to reduce the number of staff on site to ensure social distancing and additional safety measures are also being taken:

  • Single person vehicle movements both to and from site
  • Daily toolbox talks to share the latest safe working guidance and COVID-19 updates
  • Daily health screening involving temperature checks and general well-being
  • No high-risk workers on site

Councillor Gary Suttle, elected member for Swanage, said: 

“Although residents are still coming into the town centre as part of their daily exercise or to pick up food and other essential goods, there will be far fewer pedestrians around at the moment – making this an ideal time to complete these enhancement works.

“We want to get this work finished to ensure the best start for Swanage businesses when they are able to reopen. And to be able to welcome the return of visitors with a smart new shopping experience.”

Roadworks sign at Kings Road East

Temporary traffic lights will be reinstalled at the junction of Kings Road East and the High Street

Traffic management changes

With Institute Road closed, the one-way flow on Kings Road East will be reversed to ensure drivers can still get into the heart of the town, and the High Street will become two-way with the help of temporary signals. Institute Road will remain open to pedestrians as long as social distancing can be maintained. 

Stafford Road will be temporarily made one-way so that you can only go up the hill and not down it. This is to help avoid the previous sequencing problems with the temporary traffic lights which led to frustrated drivers going through the red signal and then causing further phasing problems. Making Stafford Road one-way takes out a set of lights out of the phasing, making it simpler.  

View down Institute Road with lorry in loading bay

Institute Road at the beginning of January 2020 before work began

Heavy vehicles mounting busy pavements

Dorset Council says that the work will eradicate long-running safety concerns of heavy vehicles mounting busy pavements to pass vehicles in the loading bay by widening pavements, raising the pavements to full height and removing the loading bay.

Once the scheme is finished, deliveries will still be able to take place with new loading bays positioned at either end of Institute Road. The new estimated date for the completion of the works is the second week of June 2020.

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