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Work will start in the New Year to improve a HGV pinch point on the C13 through Melbury Abbas.   As part of Dorset Highways’ A350/C13 route management scheme, a new pull-in and vehicle activated signs (VAS) are being installed for HGVs travelling through Melbury Abbas village.  

This system will advise HGV drivers to wait in the pull-in when there is another HGV in the narrow section, with the sign advising the driver when it is clear to move through the passage.   This will work in conjunction with the current traffic signal control shuttle working in Dinah’s Hollow, which has operated since July 2015 after the slopes of the natural hollow were found to pose a risk of slippage.  

Daryl Turner, Cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said: ‘When Cabinet agreed that the advisory one-way HGV system should continue, we also committed to providing additional improvements to help traffic flow along these two very busy roads.   This is still a medium-term solution. We are continuing to work with neighbouring authorities to push for a long-term solution for the north-south connectivity from the M4 to Poole Port to support Dorset’s economy.’ 

Work will start on Monday 7 January and last for 12 weeks, with the road closed – from the top of Spreadeagle Hill (junction to Compton Abbas Airfield) to the C13 junction with the B3081 – for the duration of the work.   Arrangements are being made to ensure residents and emergency services have continued access, as well as ensuring refuse collections and gritting can still take place.  

The official signed diversion route will be via the A350 although local drivers may choose to use an alternative route. Signing will be in place advising HGV drivers not to use unsuitable roads.   Graham Carr-Jones, elected member for Stalbridge and The Beacon division, said: ‘We appreciate that while work is taking place on the C13 it will put pressure on the A350, as well as other local roads, and will affect many residents along the route.   This work is vital to ensuring these two roads work together, as best as they can, to serve our north Dorset communities. I’d urge all road users to please be patient and considerate to each other while traffic is pushed onto other areas of our limited road network.’  

The work in Melbury Abbas includes:   Trenching, ducting and cabling work to link up the existing traffic signals in Dinah’s Hollow with the existing HGV sign on Spreadeagle Hill and the new sign in the village centre

Improving the signals in Dinah’s Hollow to make them permanent

Installing a new Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) to inform northbound drivers of an approaching HGV heading southbound

Building an HGV pull-in adjacent to the new VAS in the centre of the village

Installing kerbing to protect the banks

Improved signing and lining throughout the village Restructuring and resurfacing work through the village.

During the closure Dorset Highways will use the opportunity to carry out other maintenance work, including road repairs, verge and hedge cutting and tidying through Dinah’s Hollow.  

This phase of work is scheduled to finish on 29 March. Improvements at the Gore Clump junction – which are the final element of the route management scheme – are currently programmed for summer 2019.
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