£30 million upgrade to widen A31 completed as sign with typo also replaced
A £30 million upgrade to widen one of the New Forest's busiest roads has been completed after nearly a year of traffic delays. National Highways started work to widen the A31 in Ringwood and replace the two bridges over the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream on March 31, 2021.
The work, completed two weeks ahead of schedule, has widened the westbound A31 from two lanes to three between the Ringwood and Verwood junctions in a move to reduce congestion and improve traffic links between Dorset and Hampshire. The A31 at Ringwood was identified as an area needing investment, and forms part of the Government’s £15.2bn Road Investment Strategy to be delivered between 2020 – 2025.
Workers demolished and rebuilt the two bridges in order to accommodate the new third lane between the Ringwood and Verwood junctions. A sign which misspelt Wimborne as 'Wimbourne' has also been replaced during the works.
Other changes to the local road network have also been made to improve safety and access for cyclists and walkers. The speed limit on A31 will return to being 70mph after a temporary 50mph limit was in place throughout the works.
Daniel Kittredge, project manager for the A31 Ringwood, said: “I am pleased to confirm the work to widen the A31 at Ringwood has been completed ahead of time and road users are now able to use the road with its new third lane. The A31 is one of the region's most important roads, connecting Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, and is a vital route every day for work journeys and home deliveries, visits to friends and family, and the movement of goods and services.
The sign on the A31 near Ringwood has misspelt Wimborne was spotted during the roadworks(Image: Lolly West)
“The improved route will be more reliable, reducing journey times and providing capacity for future traffic growth and we would like to thank the people of Ringwood and the surrounding area for their patience while we completed this important scheme.”