RESIDENTS and motorists are being warned to expect disruption due to a major gas project in a town centre which will not finish until the spring.

Gas distribution company SGN was due to begin work today to upgrade the gas network in Wareham town centre.

The firm says it will be replacing the existing metal gas mains with new plastic pipe as part of an ongoing programme of essential work developed with the Health and Safety Executive.

SGN has consulted with the highways team at Dorset Council and says the work will start today and last approximately 12 weeks. It will involve directional road closures, parking restrictions and temporary traffic lights near the junction of West Street, East Street and South Street. All local businesses will remain open as usual throughout.

SGN Project Manager Steve McDade said: “We’ve worked closely with the local authorities in planning this work and we will be doing everything we can to limit disruption during our essential work in Wareham.

“We appreciate that roadworks can be frustrating, however, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. This means once the work is completed, Wareham homes and businesses will enjoy the benefits of a continued safe and reliable gas supply for many years to come.”

Meanwhile, also in Purbeck, five months of roadworks are set to start in Swanage today.

Traders have raised concerns about the £450,000 scheme, which is being carried out by Dorset Council to improve pedestrian safety on Institute Road.

Part of the plans – to relocate the loading bays on Institute Road – have come in for criticism.

Swanage Town Council has received representations from concerned business owners in the area, who fear the works will ultimately negatively impact trade.

Work is scheduled up until May 31. Institute Road will be closed to traffic from Monday, February 10 for 16 weeks with diversions in place.

Today, work commences on Station Road to upgrade the pedestrian crossing to a puffin crossing and widen the pavement to provide a shorter crossing point.