Construction on south east Dorset’s latest sustainable travel route is due to get underway in August in north Poole between Gravel Hill and Bear Cross Roundabout.
The work, which forms part of a 13km long green travel route eventually linking Merley, Poole with Christchurch, includes major bus, cycling and walking improvements including new bus shelters, bus stop location upgrades, toucan crossings, walking and cycling paths, new and improved junctions and reduced speed limits.
Plans for these improvements were informed by responses gathered during public engagement late 2020 and formal consultation which ran from 10 May to 14 June this year.
Funded through BCP and Dorset councils’ Transforming Cities Fund (TCF1), the work will be undertaken in four phases:
Phase one (estimated start/completion dates August to December 2021) - Gravel Hill to Merley Lane (Queen Anne Drive)
- The existing shared use path between Montacute Way and Merley Lane on the north side of Queen Anne Drive will be widened
- Junction layouts will be revised where Queen Anne Drive meets Rempstone Road, Montacute Way, Lynwood Drive and Merley Lane, giving more priority to people walking and cycling across the adjoining roads
Phase two (estimated start/completion December 2021 to March 2022) - Merley Lane to Canford Arena Way junction, Magna Road
- A new shared walking/cycling path will be installed on the north side of Queen Anne Drive between Merley Lane and Canford Magna
- New toucan crossings and traffic signals will be installed at the Canford Magna junction with Queen Anne Drive/Magna Road
- Junction improvements will be made at the entrance into Hamworthy Club giving more priority to pedestrians and cyclists across the access road
- A new 3m-wide shared use path will be installed on the north side of Magna Road between the Hamworthy Club and Canford Arena Way junction (by the Canford Magna Garden Centre)
- Improvements to the Canford Arena Way junction, including a new toucan crossing over the access road into Canford Magna Garden Centre
Phase three (estimated start/completion April to August 2022) - Canford Arena Way junction to Wood Lane. Following public consultation, the existing right-hand turn lane for traffic from Magna Road into King John Avenue will be retained.
- A new protected cycle track will be installed on both sides of Magna Road between Knighton Lane and Wood Lane, with a small section of shared use path between the junction and Wheelers Road on the south side
- The existing footway on the north side of Magna Road between Canford Arena Way junction and Knighton Lane will be converted to a new shared cycling / walking path and the existing shared path on the south side of Magna Road will be widened, creating more space for cyclists and pedestrians
- A new crossing point will be installed to the east of King John Avenue
- The speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph along Magna Road, between the Knighton Lane junction and just east of King John Avenue
- Junction layouts will be revised where Magna Road meets King John Avenue, Wood Lane and Lea Way, giving more priority to people walking and cycling over the adjoining roads (subject to planning development).
- The existing crossing near Lea Way will be upgraded to a toucan crossing point (subject to planning development).
- Bus stop locations will be upgraded along the route, including accessibility improvements, new bus shelters and real-time information
Phase four - Bear Cross Roundabout – proposed plans are currently under design and subject to final agreement following formal consultation review. Estimated start/completion September to December 2022.
Transport Minister, Baroness Vere, said:
"I’m delighted we’ve been able to support this project, which is an exciting step forward in our bid to increase the number of journeys made by sustainable modes of transport in South East Dorset.
"It will level up the transport in the area by making journeys quicker, easier and greener."
Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability at BCP Council, said:
“I’m delighted to see this ambitious work between Gravel Hill and Bear Cross get underway - it forms an important part of a continuous green travel route that will eventually link north Poole in the west with Christchurch in the east.
“The Transforming Cities Fund investment in sustainable infrastructure is all about giving people choices about how they get to and from work, education and leisure. Providing safe and quick ways of getting around locally be it by bus, bike or walking has to be a good thing. Healthy, active journeys, particularly for short trips, mean less traffic on the road, less congestion and less pollution.
“If by giving people choice we can persuade a few people to swap some of their car journeys for more sustainable modes of travel, this will have a significant impact on the level of congestion seen on our roads and carbon emissions.”
Final design plans of the planned improvements between Gravel Hill and Bear Cross Roundabout and a CGI (showing Magna Road looking east towards King John Avenue junction) are attached. The consultation reports are available here.
The work ties in with the shared pedestrian/cycle lane constructed between Merley and Poole town centre using Dorset LEP’s local growth deal funding (2016) and the resurfacing improvements on Magna Road and Queen Anne Drive (2018) funded through the Department for Transport’s Challenge Fund.