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Controversial work to improve Bowleaze Coveway starts
WORK is due to start on Monday on the first phase of a road scheme in Weymouth which some say won’t help.
Dorset County Council is to install a mini-roundabout at the busy junction of Overcombe Corner It is the first part of a scheme aimed at making Preston Road safer for cyclists and pedestrians and reduce traffic speed.
A total of £500,000 was set aside for Preston Road as part of the Weymouth relief road package and the works follow public consultations last year.
The remaining proposals for Preston Road, including a plan to alter Chalbury Corner roundabout, remain ‘under consideration’ and will be reviewed after the current works, says the council.
The Overcombe Corner phase will last for 10 weeks and is due to finish by May 25.
Borough councillor Ian Bruce, who has met council officials at the site, remains unconvinced the roundabout is a good idea, and claims that the measures are ‘unnecessary and a waste of money’.
Coun Bruce said: “Where you currently have free-flowing traffic on the main road, there’s a potential at certain times in the middle of summer to create a backlog of traffic if you introduce a roundabout.”
He was delighted to hear that the bus stops were not going to be moved – and the muddy path from the back of Heron Court going towards the playpark off Elm Close is going to be turned into a surfaced walkway and cycleway.
Richard Joy of Joys newsagent at Overcombe is ‘optimistic’ about the roundabout.
He said: “I think it will help to slow traffic on the beach road as vehicles do tend to come round quite fast. It will also make it easier for traffic coming out of Bowleaze Coveway.”
Janet Ferrett of Ringstead Crescent doesn’t drive but says there is a common problem in the summer when traffic backs up along Bowleaze Coveway trying to get out into the main road.
She added: “Roundabouts are a good idea in my view – the one at Chalbury Corner made a tremendous difference.”
John Newman who lives next to Overcomber Corner believes the junction should be left alone as there are no major problems.
He said: “When you approach from town there is a turning lane to Bowleaze, which holds about six cars.
“Now they will be narrowing the road, putting in a roundabout which will cause hold-ups. We’re preparing for 10 weeks of chaos after which there will be no improvement.”
DORSET County Council says during public consultation, 81 per cent of residents who expressed a preference in the questionnaire most wanted to see improvements to Overcombe Corner. A mini-roundabout was the most popular option.
Comments received during the consultation and incorporated into the design include extending the cycleway on the west side of Preston Road and reducing the width of the pedestrian crossing.
Stop/go boards will be in use during the first week of works outside of peak times.
New road markings, laying out the mini-roundabout, will be in place by March 22. Work will then continue to build the pedestrian islands and refurbish the pedestrian crossing.
A temporary pedestrian crossing will be provided while the new toucan crossing is installed.