Dorset County Council Cabinet has agreed a way forward for the routing of HGVs through north Dorset.
After hearing representations from residents of villages along both routes, local parish councils, local community groups and the haulage industry, it was agreed today today, 6 December, to keep the current advisory system but with proposed mitigation measures.
HGVs will continue to be advised to use the A350 northbound, towards Shaftesbury, and the C13 southbound, towards Blandford.
Current signing will be enhanced with additional signs advising of the advisory one-way route, an anti-skid surface will be applied on the uphill section of Spreadeagle Hill for HGVs heading south out of Melbury Abbas, and there will be vehicle activated message signs (VMS) for HGVs travelling through the pinch point in Melbury Abbas.
Working in conjunction with a new lay-by, the VMS at Melbury Abbas will advise HGV drivers to wait in the lay-by 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 system will work in addition to the current traffic signal control shuttle working in Dinah’s Hollow.
Councillor Daryl Turner, Cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said: ‘We will continue to involve all the blue light services and residents as we move this option forward. We will also continue to monitor the situation and ensure that these new measures are having the desired effect.
‘We are all in agreement that option one is the better solution at this point in time, but it is by no means the end of the story. We will continue to work with our neighbours in Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset councils to push for the need for a long-term solution for this north-south route.’
Dorset County Council received £2.4m from the Governments National Productivity Investment Fund, which is being used to carry out structural maintenance and improvements along the A350 and C13 – which provide the vital north-south route into Poole.
Surfacing work has been carried out along the C13 and through Stourpaine over the last five weeks and is due to finish next week. Kerbing work has also been completed on the A350 at Stepleton bends, to allow for some vehicle overrun onto the verge.
Work will then return to the A350 in the New Year with surfacing through Iwerne Minster.