The plan to redesign the main shopping streets in Swanage has begun with roadworks in the town centre. The scheme, which removes the loading bay from outside shops in Institute Road, will mean the closure of the road for 16 weeks and extra traffic on the surrounding streets. The one way direction of Kings Road East will be temporarily reversed and traffic lights installed to allow traffic through the town, while the road is closed.
The work is aimed at making the pavements safer for pedestrians. Currently, some large lorries are mounting the busy pavement in Institute Road to enable them to pass vehicles parked in the loading bay. The new scheme will widen the pavement, raise it to full height and remove the loading bay. New loading bays will be introduced at either end of Institute Road.
Also the Pelican Crossing in Station Road outside Boots is being upgraded to a Puffin crossing, meaning that the lights to indicate that it’s safe to cross, are next to the pedestrian, as opposed to across the road. This makes it easier for people to view the traffic at the same time as waiting for the lights to change. The pavement will also be widened to provide a shorter crossing point.
Roadworks planned schedule
Monday 6th January 2020 – work starts in Station Road to upgrade the pedestrian crossing to a Puffin crossing. Expected to take up to three weeks.
Monday 27th January 2020 – work starts to reposition the traffic island in Shore Road opposite the Mowlem Theatre so a new loading bay can be created. Expected to take one week.
Monday 3rd February 2020 – work starts to realign the kerb at the junction of Kings Road East and the High Street to allow traffic to turn right. Expected to take no longer than one week.
Monday 10th February 2020 – Institute Road is closed to traffic. Work starts to redesign the road. The one way direction of Kings Road East is reversed. Expected to take up to 16 weeks.
Sunday 31st May 2020 – It’s anticipated that the works will be fully completed although Institute Road may be opened earlier depending on progress.
Shop owners’ concerns
The shop owners in Institute Road have voiced concerns that the roadworks will affect their takings as shoppers are put off by the disruption. Some are also concerned that delivery drivers will find it harder to unload new supplies, once the loading bays are moved further away.
“It’s been difficult to design a solution that provides everybody with what they would like but there is no questioning the fact that the pedestrian environment on Institute Road must be improved.”DORSET COUNCIL INFRASTRUCTURE AND ASSETS SERVICE MANAGER, KATE TUNKS
The Institute Road improvements will cost around £450,000 and are being funded by Dorset Council, Swanage Town Council, and Section 106 money from developers.