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Warm welcome for changes to Weymouth's A354 at meeting
A SHOW of hands told highways bosses they were going in the right direction with changes to Weymouth’s pedestrian crossings.
Residents packed Emmanuel Church, Southill , for a public meeting to hear Dorset County Council’s proposals for new crossing islands on the A354 Weymouth Way.
At the end of the meeting residents were asked to raise their hands if they thought they were a ‘step in the right direction’ to which almost all of those present agreed.
The meeting was a ‘pre-consultation, consultation’ where residents got the chance to have a first look at plans, which highway bosses say could cost £3/4million.
They could include three new pedestrian islands between Swannery Bridge junction and Chafey’s roundabout at the pumping station, Pottery Lane and Goldcroft Avenue.
There could also be an island crossing for pedestrians to the north of Chafey’s roundabout, as well as a new cycle and walk way linking Southill and the existing cycleway to Manor roundabout.
Work is currently underway to Tarmac the surface of the path from Chafey’s roundabout to Swannery Bridge. County councillor David Harris, who chaired the meeting, told residents: “From October 8 the footpath will be closed for three days while work is done to lay the new Tarmac.”
Highways bosses said that ‘half the money is currently available’ and they are hopeful they will be able to obtain additional money from the local sustainable transport fund and the Department of Transport cycle safety scheme.
Mike Read from DCC warned residents that: “We need to find the money and these are hard times.”
But he added: “We are hopeful that by next spring we will know how much we can deliver. We can split it into bits to deliver.”
Mr Read added that highway officers hoped to be able to deliver the whole package by 2015.
After the meeting most residents said they were pleased with the plans but many said they would like to see the speed limit reduced from 50mph.
Southill resident Avis Bazell, 70, said the ideas were good, ‘as long as they protect the safety of cyclists and walkers’.
Bob Irwin said: “They have to cut the speed. Why should Southill residents be the only residents without a safe walk into town, having to cross a 50mph road.”
Southill resident Betty Dickinson, 78, said she thought the plans ‘ok.’ She added that people had to be realistic and realise that the road would probably never be cut to 30mph.
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