HE’s A31 investment brings improved cycling and pedestrian access

Highways England says project to improve access for residents, walkers and cyclists along West Street, Ringwood, in the New Forest has been successfully completed, providing a place for families to walk and enjoy the local environment.

The work was carried out in collaboration with Hampshire County Council ahead of the plans to replace the bridges and widen the A31 that is due to start later this year. They say a number of improvements have been made including widening the footpath along the north side of the street and building a new footway over the ‘brick bridge.’ Highways England is planning further footway and cycleway improvements adjacent to its main scheme to improve capacity on the A31.

The completed work included:

  • Widening the footpath along the west side of West Street to improve accessibility for cyclists and walkers
  • New kerbs and environmental planting
  • Building a new footpath over the ‘brick bridge’
  • Widening the footpath over the ‘old Stony’ bridge
  • Reversing the one way at The Furlong
  • Introducing new priority give way signs at both bridges to accompany the new and improved footpaths over them
  • Resurfacing both bridges
  • Laying new electrical cable along the length of West Street in advance of the main A31 work.
  • Closing access to the A31 from West Street and erecting signage on the A31 to advise drivers of the West Street closure:

“We are delighted that these works have now concluded, and that the local community are already benefitting from the reduced traffic in Market Place and on West Street, as a result of the work. This is particularly evident when the market is running on Wednesdays. The Market sets up on both sides of the High Street and now customers have a safer environment to walk around without the constant flow of vehicles driving through to access the A31,” said Highways England’s project manager, Raluca Mitu. “The combination of the reduced traffic along West Street and the improved footways, signage and cycle path and has provided a place for families to walk and enjoy the local environment.”

Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader of Hampshire County Council and executive lead member for economy, transport and the environment, added, “This is an excellent example of partnership working and I am pleased these works are now complete and the changes will improve safety for people living, working and travelling in the local area. Hampshire County Council has worked collaboratively with New Forest District Council and Ringwood Town Council to develop a programme of small-scale measures that support the Ringwood Town Access Plan. These measures will help improve pedestrian and cycle safety, while ensuring good access to the town remains after the closure of West Street.”

To improve safety for people living, working and travelling in and around Ringwood, Highways England removed access to the dual carriageway of the A31 from West Street as merging traffic from the junction posed a risk to drivers.

(Picture – Highways England)

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