A31 roadworks at Ringwood reach critical stage with bridge replacement over River Avon

  • Report by ITV Meridian's Richard Slee

Work to widen one of the most congested roads in the south has reached a critical stage with the replacement of a bridge over the River Avon.

The scheme to widen the A31 at Ringwood began in October 2021. It involves adding a third lane to the westbound carriageway and is due to be completed in November.

Journey times will be reduced as traffic flow is eased.

  • Video from National Highways

Work began on the project in October 2021. 

But it's not been without controversy - causing a lot of disruption for local people and companies, as well as holiday traffic

Road closures on the A31 at Ringwood continue tonight (Wednesday 10 August).

Westbound lanes from the M27 junction to the A338 Ashley Heath roundabout will be shut from 8pm - 6am Thursday 11 August.

Diversions are in place via the A336, A326, A3060 and A338.

Daniel Kittredge, National Highways Project Manager said: "The main benefit is reducing the bottleneck of people trying to leave Ringwood town which will be relieved for people travelling past Ringwood and onto Bournemouth and will not experience the previous levels of congestion they have done."

The new span is replacing a bridge built in the 1930s - which wouldn't support the new three lane carriageway.

The wider road will open up the route, which at peak times sees lengthy delays and long queues.

But the works have had a negative impact on businesses in Ringwood with some firms saying they have seen visitors numbers drop by 30-40%.

National Highways say work is currently on time and the A31 westbound is expected to reopen by the end of November 2022.