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17 July 2019

B3073 Blackwater West to benefit from major signal improvements

B3073 Blackwater West to benefit from major signal improvements

The B3073 Blackwater West Signal Improvements is the latest scheme to benefit from £45.2 million investment in the county’s transport infrastructure as part of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme.

The scheme is part of the BIG Programme funded through Dorset LEP secured Dorset Growth Deal* aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport as well as unlocking employment land and stimulating economic growth.


The nine month long scheme aims to:

  • Improve the on and off slips to the A338
  • Improve cycle and footpath facilities on the B3073
  • Increase junction capacity by widening the road on both sides to create an additional lane
  • Ease congestion
  • Better traffic flow
  • Increase journey time reliability
  • Improve connectivity

Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, MP said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.

“The signal improvements to the B3073 Blackwater West, part of the £45.2 million of Local Growth Fund investment in Dorset’s transport network, will improve cycle and footpaths, ease congestion and improve journeys for all road users in the area. I’m pleased to see work on this project begin as, once completed, it will benefit Dorset’s wider economy and business community.”

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The BIG Programme continues to make excellent progress – the start of these works at Blackwater West marks another important milestone and forms a key part of a series of economy-building upgrades along the busy B3073 corridor that will create better journeys, particularly for local businesses around Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park.”

Phase one started on Monday 1 July 2019 and involves structural works on the embankment of the south west area to enable the carriageway to be widened.

A series of night closures are taking place from Monday 15 July from 8pm to 6am Monday to Sunday to install temporary traffic lights and reconfigure the existing traffic lanes. Most of the improvement work will be carried out off the main road enabling motorists to continue using the existing number of lanes available, although delays are expected especially during peak hours. Further works will require some off peak restrictions and night closures.

Later phases of work include:

  • Phase 2: south east area – structural works on the embankment will be carried out to allow for carriageway and footway widening. A new noise fence will be installed and landscaping works carried out
  • Phase 3: north east area – a new A338 on-slip will be constructed on the north side of the electricity pylon. Work will also take place to widen the carriageway and footpath
  • Phase 4: whole junction – new islands and traffic signals will be installed. The whole junction will be resurfaced at the end of the scheme

There will be no work on the main A338 Bournemouth Spur Road. The use of advanced temporary traffic signals will keep disruption to a minimum, as they will mimic the existing layout.

Cllr Andy Hadley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure, BCP Council, said: “We appreciate these works will cause delays. There is never a good time to carry out these changes but it does need to be done. These improvements are essential to ensure the A338/B3073 intersection is fit for purpose and supports anticipated economic growth in the area.”

“Drivers should try to plan ahead if they can, allowing extra time for journeys, finding alternative routes or travelling during off peak periods when delays will be minimal.”

The B3073 Blackwater West Signal Improvements are scheduled to last until Spring 2020. Road users are advised to sign up to the A338 travel blog to stay up to date with road news or check @TravelDorset on twitter for updates.

For more information visit


Notes to editors

Picture (L-R) Ian Price, Hanson Contracting UK, Tanya Ruseva, Dorset Council, Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP and Cllr Andy Hadley, BCP Council

Launched in January 2016, the BIG Programme is a major economic growth plan focused on employment and development around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields.  Over seven years a series of transport and infrastructure investments will:

  • Transform accessibility to and around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields through extensive transport improvements;
  • Release up to 60 hectares of prime, flexible employment land for high-quality new business premises at Aviation Business Park;
  • Provide the single largest employment opportunity in the southeast Dorset conurbation with the potential to create up to 10,000 new highly skilled jobs over the next decade;
  • Generate up to £500 million of GVA into the area;
  • Deliver around 350 new homes of which up to 50 per cent are affordable;
  • Deliver increased broadband capacity to Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park;
  • Develop a new approach to improve skills and employee development, better tailoring it to the needs of key business sectors (aerospace, aviation, advanced manufacturing, digital media, marine, defence and financial services). 

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is overseeing the BIG Programme in collaboration with BCP Council and Dorset Council.

* £45,200,000 has been allocated to fund the BIG Programme from the £98.5 million funding secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s ‘Growth Deals’.  

* “Local Growth Fund”

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England.

The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.

LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity.  Acting as a strategic gateway to funding, Dorset LEP supports and delivers projects of long term economic benefit for all in Dorset through cross sector partnership.


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