The chances of Government backing for a A354 bypass around Wyke Regis are slim – with no chance of any decision until at least 2025.

But some road improvements between Portland, Weymouth and Dorchester, may be considered before then – if the funding can be found.

County highways brief holder Cllr Ray Bryan told Tuesday’s Dorset Council cabinet meeting that the Government had no money available for at least five years from the most likely funding pot – and had rejected the idea of the road in 2018 when it was put forward by Dorset County Council.

He said unless Dorset Council could make a good case which involved unlocking significant housing or industrial land through putting the road in there was little chance of it being built in the short-term.

It comes after calls were made for authorities to push for the relief road to help alleviate congestion and boost the south Dorset economy.

Supporters of the Chickerell-Ferrybridge link, known as the Western Route or Jurassic Coast Highway, say the road is needed now more than ever to help the area prosper and improve quality of life for residents who have to put up with traffic queues and pollution.

Said Cllr Bryan in a response to a question about the road from Portland councillor Paul Kimber: “Funding for new strategic roads must be sought from Government either through the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) or the Major Road Network (MRN) fund. We understand there is no money available for a new road scheme here in the current RIS period 2020-2025.

"The Government does not currently consider the A354 between Weymouth and Portland to be of significance because it did not accept our case for the route’s inclusion in the Major Road Network (MRN) in 2018.

"Dorset Council will be working with the local business communities to lobby Government for infrastructure improvements for Dorset."

Cllr Bryan added: "The next time this network will be reviewed will be 2024 and there are no guarantees it will be included then. Government is very clear that new road schemes must be high value for money and unlock significant numbers of jobs and housing to deliver economic growth.

"As part of any bid to Government must demonstrate that we have done all we can to improve the current transport network before bidding for funds for new roads.

"So we will seek funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership and other appropriate government sources for a series of related highways improvements along the A354 Dorchester, Weymouth to Portland corridor.”