Kings Road East traffic flow to stay reversed as Institute Road reopens

The long-awaited reopening of Institute Road in Swanage happened today but like lots of things, it’s only back to ‘near normal’ as the traffic direction in Kings Road East will stay flowing one way from the Co-op down to the High Street, for now.

This means that all traffic coming out of town will have to continue to go along the High Street rather than nipping down Kings Road East to join Kings Road West as it heads out towards Harman’s Cross and Corfe Castle. There are some pinch points In the High Street along the stretch by the Black Swan that make it difficult for large lorries to navigate.

Junction of the High Street and Kings Road East

Drivers will still be able to avoid Institute Road by going down Kings Road East from the Co-op down to the High Street, but they will only be able to turn right and not left, once the temporary traffic lights are removed

Dorset Council said:

“For now, Kings Road East will remain with the flow into town, which was put in place as part of the traffic management during work on Institute Road. The effects of this will be monitored and a decision will be made in discussion with local councillors whether to make it permanent. During this time, people can register their support or objections by emailing our highway engineers.

New white markings have appeared at the junction of Kings Road East and the High Street by the library. Once the temporary traffic lights are removed, vehicles coming down Kings Road East will be able to turn right at the High Street towards the Town Hall, although there won’t be an option now to turn left towards the seafront.

Junction of the High Street and Kings Road East

The junction of the High Street and Kings Road East

The town centre work has now been completed

The town centre improvements in Station Road and Institute Road are now all complete and Swanage Town Mayor, Mike Bonfield officially opened it at lunchtime today.

The route has had long-running safety concerns as pedestrians frequently found themselves having to avoid vehicles, which were mounting the pavement to manoeuvre round vehicles parked in the loading bay.

The team that completed the Swanage town centre improvement project.

The team that completed the town centre improvement project and made sure it happened

The scheme started in January 2020

The work that started in January 2020, carried out by Dorset Highways has widened both pavements in Institute Road to give more space for shoppers, raised pavements on both sides of the road to full height and relocated loading bays to either end of the road.

The pavements have also had new drainage channels installed to help manage rainwater run-off from shop guttering, as well as new defined pedestrian crossing points.

In Station Road, the pedestrian crossing now has a wider pavement and has been upgraded to a puffin crossing. The traffic island on Shore Road that has been rebuilt on a new alignment to help the flow of traffic pass the new loading bay and the disabled parking bays.

Watch the film of Swanage Town Mayor, Mike Bonfield officially opening Institute Road

Swanage Town Mayor, Mike Bonfield, as he opened Institute Road following the completion of the town centre improvements, said:

“Please enjoy it, please feel safe and I hope you all appreciate what has been done. It’s been a lot of hard work and a special thanks to the workers of Dorset Highways because it’s such a difficult time and you’ve achieved great things.”

Councillor Bill Trite, Dorset Council elected member for Swanage, said:

“These works are the culmination of a process which necessarily goes back many years and answers an increasingly urgent problem. Our prime motivation has always been that of safety for pedestrians and traffic in Swanage’s busiest, most congested street.”

Councillor Gary Suttle, Dorset Council elected member for Swanage, said:

“The works have greatly enhanced the town centre shopping experience for pedestrians and I’m sure residents and visitors will now feel safer using this busy route. I’d like to thank the project team on site for working so hard to get this finished in time for the reopening of our high street, enabling us to shop locally and help support businesses here in town.”

The Swanage Town Mayor, Mike Bonfield officially opens the town centre improvement works

The Swanage Town Mayor, Mike Bonfield officially opens the town centre improvement works

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