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A35 at Holmsley reopens after months of disruption caused by bridge replacement work

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MOTORISTS breathed a sigh of relief this morning (Monday) as the A35 at Holmsley finally reopened after months of bridge replacement work.

However, the C10 road underneath remains closed until later this week.

The route, one of the busiest through the New Forest, had been out of action as Hampshire County Council contractors Knights Brown carried out the £5.5m project on the 113-year-old structure.

As reported in the A&T, following delays caused by storms earlier in the year, HCC hoped to lift the closure in time for the Easter weekend.

The A35 bridge at Holmsley has reopened (photo: Simon Rowley)
The A35 bridge at Holmsley has reopened (photo: Simon Rowley)

It had said dry weather would depend on the completion of a five-day resurfacing of the road, enabling it to be reopened at midnight yesterday (Sunday).

The main road reopened this morning – 24 hours later – with temporary traffic signals in place.

HCC said the C10 Station Road was due to reopen later in the week, also with temporary traffic signals.

The A35 reopening brings to an end about four months of disruption which has seen local businesses complain of losing thousands of pounds in trade, and frustration over diversion routes.

The Swan Inn at Emery Down was one of those affected, with landlady Sybil Barnes lamenting a £60,000 loss.

Diversions included a route taking motorists along Pound Lane, between Burley and Bransgore, where a burst water main caused a large hole to appear in the road over Whitten Bridge, damaging several vehicles in February.

The C10 remains closed (photo: Simon Rowley)
The C10 remains closed (photo: Simon Rowley)

A short closure for essential repairs by Bournemouth Water engineers at the time was followed by another in late March for more overnight water works.

New Milton councillor Steve Clarke also hit out at HCC in January for not dealing with potholes along the B3055 Sway Road before diverting traffic along it.

He called the windy route between the town and Brockenhurst “absolutely dangerous”.

Announcing the A35 reopening, an HCC spokesperson said: “Four-way temporary traffic signals will still be in place on the A35 at its junction with the two side roads, to the west of the new bridge, while work continues.

“Also, the 40mph temporary speed limit will need to remain in place. Station Road will reopen later in the week, albeit as a single lane with two-way temporary traffic signals in place while drainage works are completed.

“Localised traffic management will be needed on both roads for various construction activities until the end of June when the scheme is expected to be fully completed.”

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