Members of the public are being asked to give their opinions on plans for a new one-way traffic system in Dorchester.
The aim of the plan is to improve air quality, enhance the environment of the town centre and protect its historic buildings.
The first phase of the scheme, due to be introduced in November 2014, will include making High West Street and parts of High East Street one-way, new traffic signals at the junction of Princes Street and Albert Road, and some banned turns at the junction of Great Western Road.
Before plans are finalised, local residents and businesses will have the chance to give their views on the proposed scheme through a series of public exhibitions running for five weeks to 11 November.
The exhibition will first be on display at the new Dorchester Library and Learning Centre from 17-25 October, with some members of the county council’s highways staff on hand to answer questions on 18, 19 and 22 October.
There will also be a staffed exhibition in Dorchester South Street on 23 October to coincide with market day. Maps and detailed plans can be seen at the exhibitions and a questionnaire will be available to complete on the day or to take away. Full details of the whole scheme, along with an online questionnaire, can also be found on the Dorchester Transport pages at http://www.dorsetforyou.com/dorchester-transport-plan.
The plans were first drawn up in 2003 but were later shelved due to funding issues. The scheme has now been revived, taking into account changes in traffic levels and new local developments such as Brewery Square, the Charles Street offices, park and ride, the Weymouth relief road and the expansion of Poundbury.
The £4.9 million scheme will now be carried out in two phases, with the second part due to be introduced in 2015 after the initial changes are monitored and assessed. A third phase may follow if funding is available.
Hilary Cox, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for the environment, said: “Dorchester is a beautiful and historic place but not designed for 21st century traffic. To ensure its future and to enhance the present we need to take appropriate action now.
“The proposed traffic flow systems will make sure that traffic through the heart of the town is reduced, and by doing so, the town will be protected and improved for residents and visitors.”
The plans have been drawn up by DorsetCounty Council with the support of West Dorset District Council, Dorchester Town Council, Dorchester BID and the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.
Key elements of the new scheme:
High West Street and part of High East Street are to be made one-way. Traffic will be able to go down High West Street as far as Church Street, but not up it
Instead of travelling up High West Street, traffic will be re-routed via Church Street, Acland Road, South Walks Road, Great Western Road, Damers Road and Williams Avenue
Travelling North-South and vice versa through the town (for example, from Dorchester Tesco to Charminster) will remain unchanged
There will be changes to Princes Street to minimise the impact on bus services
There will be changes to various junctions in the town, limiting the directions traffic can take and improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists
Direction of flow on some roads will be changed
Full details of exhibitions:
Thursday 17 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Unstaffed exhibition
Friday 18 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Staffed exhibition 4pm-7pm
Saturday 19 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Staffed exhibition 10am-3pm
Monday 21 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Unstaffed exhibition
Tuesday 22 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Staffed exhibition 4pm-7pm
Wednesday 23 October Gazebo in South Street near Boots Staffed exhibition 10am-3pm
Thursday 24 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Unstaffed exhibition
Friday 25 October New Dorchester Library, South Walks, Dorchester Staffed exhibition