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Marshwood Vale residents want A35 action to stop traffic snarl-ups

RESIDENTS in the Marshwood Vale want Dorset Police and highways officials to stop the narrow lanes of the vale being rammed with traffic whenever the A35 is closed between Raymonds Hill near Axminster and Miles Cross near Bridport.

When the A35 is closed, generally because of accidents, jams quickly build up and frustrated hordes of motorists seek impromptu alternatives through the mass of lanes north of the main road.

Then they meet a lorry that can’t reverse down a single-track lane, and they can’t easily go back because of the number of vehicles behind them… Tempers get frayed, passing places get blocked, verges get crushed.

Snarls-up are identified as a big problem in the new Upper Marshwood Vale Plan, which covers Marshwood, Bettiscombe, Pilsdon and Stoke Abbott. Possible solutions are being discussed at public meeting in Bettiscombe Village Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, November 11.

Marshwood councillor Ali Cameron said: “The plan is just a bit of paper unless we turn its ideas and recommendations into reality. This meeting is so residents from all parts of Upper Marshwood can get together to start implementing the parts of the plan that is important to them. So if you want a better future, please come along and be prepared to help.”

Possible solutions

To quote the plan: “The survey produced several solutions, which together or separately, would assist.

“These included: a) using diversion signs within the Vale b) a speedy response to removing the obstruction and re-opening the A35.

“The most popular solution, which would supplement the activity at the scene of the accident, was the use of electronically controlled flashing diversion displays with the information “A35 closed ahead”.

“A sign able to display such a message is already sited on the A30 at Honiton and addresses the eastbound traffic towards the A303.

“Another placed on the A35 at Dorchester would direct westbound traffic onto the A37 through Yeovil and thence to the A303.”

The parish plan suggests that the Upper Marshwood Vale Parish Council should approach the Highways Agency so that the potential and effectiveness of A35 signs can be properly assessed.