On Friday 17 November, Highways England issued its Preferred Route Announcement for the A31 Improvement Scheme at Ringwood, following a period of public consultation during the summer.

This confirms that Highways England will be proceeding with Option 1, which includes the following:

  • Increasing the westbound carriageway of the A31 from two lanes to three between the Ringwood and Verwood junctions
  • Replacement of the two bridges over the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream to accommodate the westbound third lane
  • Closing the junction with West Street and the A31 to motorised vehicles
  • Closing one of the Fish Inn pub’s entry/exit points on the A31
  • Improvements to the existing cycle and footpaths along the A31

A review of the full consultation report indicates that some of the issues to be looked at or developed further in the next stage of the project are as follows:

  • Further consideration regarding the method of closure of West Street will be investigated
  • The closure of West Street will be discussed with emergency services to ensure they can continue to carry out their duties effectively
  • Quantitative noise modelling will be carried out and mitigation measures considered where necessary
  • Discussions with the bus company to identify how to mitigate any issues the closure of West Street would have on their operations
  • Full signage strategy will be developed, reviewing requirements for the A31 and the town centre
  • Improved access/exit to the petrol filling station
  • Working closely with all local businesses to ensure mitigation such as signage is considered to minimise potential impact on local businesses
  • Developing a robust construction plan, to include a detailed traffic management plan
  • Continue to work with key stakeholders
  • Work with the Town, District and County Councils to identify potential improvements for cyclists and pedestrians in the town centre

Work on the upgrade is due to start during the 2020/21 financial year.

Full consultation report:
https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a31-ringwood-improvement/results/consultation-report.pdf

Highways England press release:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/upgrades-to-the-a31-at-ringwood-backed

Brief summary leaflet:
https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a31-ringwood-improvement/results/preferred-route-announcement.pdf