Roadworks near Corfe Castle to continue for ‘further three days’

Temporary traffic lights, which are causing traffic queues on the A351 near Corfe Castle, are expected to stay in place for a few more days while BT repairs a collapsed manhole in the road.

The A351 between Swanage and Wareham is currently the main access route for Swanage and Studland, while the Studland Road is closed for five weeks for waterworks and the ferry between Sandbanks and Studland is out of service for planned maintenance.

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Traffic queue out of Swanage on Remembrance Sunday
Tina Norval

The traffic queue from Harmans Cross to Corfe Castle on Sunday 13th November 2022

Collapsed manhole

The collapsed manhole was reported to Dorset Council on Wednesday 9th November 2022 and two days later the area was protected by a barrier and temporary traffic lights installed.

This caused long traffic delays in and out of Purbeck over the weekend, affecting those travelling to Swanage for Remembrance Sunday.

On Sunday night it took one person two and a half hours to travel from Swanage to visit their partner at Bournemouth Hospital and the traffic delays have continued into the week at busy times.

roadworks near Corfe Castle (
J M Alcock

At least those stuck at the temporary traffic lights get a great view of Corfe Castle

Concrete will need time to set

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said:

“BT has advised us that its work to repair the manhole on the A351 near Corfe Castle is going to take a further three days. The queues this is causing are understandably frustrating.

“However, as the highway authority we have a responsibility for the safety of road users, so we are asking for everyone to be patient while BT completes its work.

“The work includes repairing a collapsed chamber with concrete. The concrete will take time to cure properly before the cover can be reset and signals removed.

“Our current understanding is that BT is aiming for the works to reconstruct the manhole to be completed by Thursday 17th November. Temporary signals can then be removed. Thank you for your patience.”

Corfe Castle viewed from Kingston Courtyard

Traffic has been queing through Corfe Castle

All traffic currently has to go via A351

The delays on the A351 have been excerbated due to all traffic heading to Swanage and Studland having to go via this road, while the two alternative routes are shut.

Despite objections from Studland and Corfe Castle parish councils and local businesses, Dorset Council highways department chose to close Studland Road, between Corfe Castle and Studland for five weeks from Monday 31st October 2022 to Friday 2nd December 2022, to coincide with Sandbanks Ferry being taken out of service for planned maintenance.

Dorset Council said that with the ferry out of action, there would be less traffic using the Studland Road and would mean that there would be one period of travel disruption and not two.

Studland Parish Council argued that leaving Purbeck with only one main access route would hamper access for residents, visitors and most importantly, emergency services.

Water works on Studland Road

Wessex Water is replacing a water main on Studland Road

Sandbanks Ferry’s return to service to be delayed

Work to replace a water main on Studland Road should be completed by Friday 2nd December 2022, although the Sandbanks Ferry was delayed by bad weather from travelling to Falmouth for a major refit.

The ferry eventually arrived on Sunday 13th November 2022, 13 days behind schedule, and it’s just been announced that the ferry was damaged during the journey so it won’t be back in service until the start of 2023.

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