Work on the first section of new sustainable transport infrastructure within the BCP Council area is due to start on 17 May on Whitelegg Way. The work which is part of BCP and Dorset Councils’ Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme will last until the autumn.
The works will create new cycle lanes along both sides of Whitelegg Way between the Redhill and Northbourne roundabouts. The project will also include improvements to bus stops and the pedestrian crossing, as well as walking and traffic control infrastructure.
During the construction it will be necessary for temporary traffic management measures to be put in place:
- The northbound road on Whitelegg Way will be closed for the duration of the works and traffic will be diverted along the adjacent Wimborne Road.
- The southbound road on Whitelegg Way will remain open to traffic.
- On-street parking along Wimborne Road will be temporarily suspended (on both sides) to facilitate traffic flows on the diversion route.
Julian McLaughlin, Director of Transport and Engineering for BCP Council said:
“It is great to see the first TCF project in the BCP Council area getting under-way. The improvements along Whitelegg Way are part of our multi-million-pound TCF programme, which has been designed to create a truly sustainable transport network in south east Dorset. The benefits of sustainable travel are well proven and it’s our ambition to transform local travel and give people the option to get out and about without having to rely on their cars.”
The work being undertaken on Whitelegg Way includes:
- A new, dedicated (segregated from traffic) 850m cycle lane along both sides of Whitelegg Way between Redhill roundabout and Northbourne roundabout providing a safe and protected route for cyclists.
- Reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph along Whitelegg Way to make the road safer for drivers and cyclists.
- Changing how vehicles can use the junction between Wimborne Road (known as the slip road) and Whitelegg Way. Vehicles will no longer be able to turn left from Wimborne Road onto Whitelegg Way but will continue to be able to turn right. This change will provide dedicated space for cyclists when they are waiting at the junction and reduce waiting times for buses and other vehicles.
- Traffic lights at the Whitelegg Way/Wimborne Road junction will be upgraded to provide a head start for cyclists before vehicles, when lights turn green.
- Bus stop improvements including new shelters and real time information displays along Wimborne Road.
- Improving and relocating the existing crossing near Northbourne roundabout so it can be used by people cycling and walking.
- New wayfinding/directional signage.
Plans for these improvements were informed by responses gathered during public engagement late 2020 and formal consultation which ran 24 February to 31 March this year. Overall the proposals were well-received with broad public support.
A small number of responses questioned whether Wimborne Road could be used as the cycle route rather than Whitelegg Way. Whitelegg Way is the preferred route as it offers a safe, direct route separated from traffic for people cycling along the Merley to/from Christchurch sustainable travel route. It reduces the number of crossings people cycling need to make at Northbourne roundabout and the junction between Whitelegg Way and Wimborne Road.
Wimborne Road is also the main bus route between Redhill roundabout and Northbourne roundabout with a number of bus stops. Where possible designers will separate the movement of people cycling from people joining or leaving a bus. By constructing cycle lanes on Whitelegg Way the movements between bus passengers and people cycling are fully separated.