Dorset Council’s highways team is to restart construction work in Institute Road in the centre of Swanage’s shopping area on Monday 4th May 2020.
This follows the suspension of the work to improve pedestrian safety six weeks ago, when the government announced social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the resumption of work, Institute Road will be closed to vehicles and the direction of the traffic flow in Kings Road East will be reversed to allow vehicles to travel through the town centre.
Temporary traffic lights
The previous traffic management systems are to be reinstalled. This is to include the controversial temporary traffic lights at the junction of Kings Road East and the High Street. Back in March, long queues coming into town built up, as the lights stayed on red for long periods. It’s hoped that this time with less traffic, it should not cause the same problem, with frustrated drivers causing the lights to reset and delaying the sequencing.
In an email to local businesses and stakeholders, the Dorset Council highways team said:
“Our construction team will be restarting work in Institute Road on Monday May 4th. From Monday, the previous traffic management systems will be in place. I will let you have a time of the expected closure and programme when it is available.
“Please note, guidance on social distancing will be respected and additional barriers may be required to ensure workers and residents are adequately protected.”
The roadworks, that have been partially completed, include plans to widen the pavements and to reposition the loading bay, to stop vehicles having to mount the pavement to get round parked lorries in the loading area. This is to improve pedestrian safety following a serious collision in 2015.
Reacting to the new start date, which is also humorously referred to as ‘Star Wars’ day, local painter and decorator, Graham Sprigg commented on social media:
“May the 4th be with them!”
It’s not yet known when the works are expected to be fully completed.
Meanwhile, a date has not yet been set for the completion of the resurfacing works on some of the town’s residential roads, including Seymer Road and Belle Vue Road. A spokesperson for Dorset Council said:
“Unfortunately, we’re not currently able to treat roads in a residential setting due to the increase in parked vehicles while residents stay near home, and the likely increased contact with pedestrians.”