The controversial closure of the main road between Studland and Corfe Castle, coinciding with the Sandbanks Ferry stoppage, has now ended with the road reopening three days ahead of schedule.
The £500,000 project by Wessex Water to relocate and replace a degrading water main close to Corfe Castle village has now been completed, allowing a short section of the B3351 near Dorset Adventure Park to be reopened on Tuesday 29th November 2022 to through traffic.
The new water main is installed along Studland Road
New pipe will enhance water quality
Wessex Water says that the new pipe will enhance water quality and improve reliability to cope with increasing demand.
Its engineers redesigned the project so that the vast majority of more than 1,000 metres of the new water main was moved out of the road and onto adjacent land, minimising the impact of the work on the local area.
The Wessex Water team completed the project three days ahead of schedule
The road was closed for five weeks near to Corfe Castle
Objections to the timing
The five week road closure, at the same time that the ferry between Studland and Sandbanks has been out of action for maintenance, has left Studland with only one route out of the village.
Although Wessex Water agreed this with Dorset Council, both Studland and Corfe Castle Parish Councils objected to the plan.
Dorset Council said there would be less traffic using the road when the ferry wasn’t in use. Also it would mean only one period of disruption and not two.
However both Corfe Castle and Studland Parish Council argued not to close both ferry and road links to Studland simultaneously, as this would limit access to Studland and push all traffic through Corfe Castle and Swanage.
It was also feared that access for emergency services would be hampered with two out of three main routes to the village closed.
Several Studland businesses temporarily shut down for the period of road closure and ferry stoppage due to the lack of visitors and the difficulty of the commute for staff.
The road closure pushed all traffic heading to Studland via Corfe Castle village and Swanage
“We apologise for any inconvenience”
Wessex Water project manager Louie Cosentino said:
“This was a major investment to repair a cast-iron water main that has burst regularly over the last decade and was no longer suitable for the demand being placed on it.
“The new main is a significant step to both boosting the water quality and improving the reliability of supply for the future and moving the bulk of the pipe out of the road will hopefully reduce potential further disruption in the future.
“Along with the local authority, we worked hard to find a window for the project that would avoid disruption over a much longer period and we thank them, as well as all residents, businesses and the communities in the area for their cooperation, patience and understanding while this essential project was carried out.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and have written to both local residents, businesses and parish councils to inform them about the project’s completion. The B3351 is now fully reopened to through traffic at Corfe Castle.’’
The road works combined with the Sandbanks Ferry closure left only one route into Studland
“Listen to residents and local businesses”
Chair of Studland Parish Council Nick Boulter said:
“We are pleased that the road works have been completed in a timely manner. We hope that in future that Dorset Council – when making decisions about road closures – do listen to residents and local businesses about the timing of the closures.
“The timing of this closure has badly hit Studland businesses and inconvenienced residents.”
The ferry’s southern end prow (pictured before the incident) has been severly damaged
Sandbanks Ferry’s return to service delayed
It was anticipated that the Sandbanks Ferry would return to service in December 2022 but while being towed to Falmouth in Cornwall for planned maintenance, the southern end prow was badly damaged.
The ferry company says that the additional work to repair the damage has significantly delayed the ferry’s return to service which is now anticipated to be in the new year.