ENGINEERS have celebrated completing on time a multi-million-pound project to improve a major junction on the A338.
The nine-month scheme for the B3073 Blackwater West Junction was launched in July last year for better access around Bournemouth Airport.
It has been a partnership project between BCP Council, Dorset Council and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in a bid unlock employment land and economic growth.
It has upgraded slip-roads to the A338 and cycle and footpath facilities on the B3073, as well as junction capacity by widening the road on both sides with an additional lane.
Funding for the £11.2m works – which were completed on budget – came through Dorset LEP’s local growth deal forming part of the Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) programme.
Representatives of all three bodies praised the efficiency of the project workers from Hanson Contracting, especially for completing the works while adhering to social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Dorset LEP chair Jim Stewart said: “The BIG Programme is in its penultimate year and this phase of work is an important milestone achievement in the programme that is improving transport links, easing congestion and supporting employment around Bournemouth Airport.
“Continuing to deliver important infrastructure improvements in Bournemouth that benefit Dorset’s wider economy and business community are critical, now more so than ever before.”
Works have included an extended on-slip and merge lane from Blackwater Junction to Cooper Dean roundabout, and improvements to the on-slip onto the A338 southbound from the B3073 at Blackwater East Junction.
There were also improvements to the off-slips from the A338 southbound to Cooper Dean roundabout and from the A338 northbound onto the B3073 at Blackwater West Junction.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council cabinet member for highways, travel and environment, added: “My thanks goes to everyone on the project team for keeping the improvements on track during these exceptional times, and adapting working methods to ensure the safety of the construction workforce.
“I’m incredibly proud of the successful partnership working we have achieved throughout the BIG Programme.”