Lane closure on A31 to stay until midweek after contractors made 'no improvements'

Lane closure on A31 to stay until midweek after contractors made 'no improvements' <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Lane closure on A31 to stay until midweek after contractors made 'no improvements' (Image: Newsquest)

LENGTHY delays on the A31 near Ringwood are set to continue until midweek as freezing temperatures hamper drainage repair works.

One lane has been closed westbound between the M27 for Southampton and the A338 near Ringwood since the morning of Tuesday, January 17.

Originally it was thought the issue was due to a burst water main, but it was later confirmed as a drainage pipe problem and motorists have described the issues as a “nightmare” with knock on effects across neighbouring road networks.

Despite hopes the problem could be fixed on Monday, January 23, National Highways has stated no improvements were made by contractors Kier over the weekend – meaning the closure will likely be in place until at least Wednesday.

Bournemouth Echo: Emergency drainage work on the A31 at Ringwood
Bournemouth Echo: Emergency drainage work on the A31 at Ringwood

Emergency drainage work on the A31 at Ringwood (Image: National Highways)

Contractors have been on site for much of the week and a gulley sucker was used in an attempt to clear the water last week.

At peak times, delays of up to an hour have been reported.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “On Friday, lane one was closed due to the work to clear ditches and drainage at the side of the road to increase the water capacity to cope with the increased groundwater level in the area.

“On Sunday, January 22, there was no improvement reported by Kier. Re-assessment was planned on Monday but due to the weather forecast, negative temperatures for the next few days, lane one stays closed.

“There is a lot of water coming off the fields into the road. The main issues are volume of water and if this water freezes on the road.

Bournemouth Echo: Traffic on the A31 at Ringwood
Bournemouth Echo: Traffic on the A31 at Ringwood

Traffic on the A31 at Ringwood (Image: Newsquest)

“We’ve closed lane one as the water is running into a ditch and out again into the road. We should know more on Tuesday as temperatures rise – but as they do, this will likely increase the water heading towards the road.

“Lane one should be closed until at least midweek.”

Ringwood councillor Philip Day said the delays were having an adverse impact on other roads. He said: “It’s obviously causing a lot of inconvenience and peoples’ sat navs seem to be picking up on the delays and are sending them through the back roads.

“There’s been a lot of tailback on the Salisbury Road from Fordingbridge for example.

“Of course the icy weather has caused even bigger issues. I have made a point of avoiding anywhere east of Ringwood and the town council has had no formal information from National Highways about when the issue will be fixed.”