Section of A303 to be closed for five weeks

A MAJOR artery in the South West s road network will be closed for five weeks from the early hours of next Monday (February 15).

A MAJOR artery in the South West's road network will be closed for five weeks from the early hours of next Monday (February 15).

The Highways Agency has confirmed that extensive maintenance works between Mere and Willoughby Hedge will necessitate the full closure of carriageways.

Traffic diversions will operate throughout the five-week closure.

Eastbound traffic, excluding high loads, will be diverted along the A37, A361 and A36.

High loads will be re-routed along the A359.

All westbound traffic will be expected to use the A350 and B3081 through Gillingham.

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Work being carried out is part of a phased carriageway renewal and major maintenance project.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "The work is progressing to programme, with a five week full closure of the road commencing at 00:01 hours on Monday, February 15.

"This is an extensive maintenance scheme, starting east of Mere and finishing at the junction with the B3089.

"The work will involve the repair and strengthening of the road, repair of drainage and installation of new safety barriers.

"The road will also be widened by a metre, where possible, to assist with drainage and provide additional space for breakdowns and maintenance."

After reviewing the nature of the works, the Highways Agency and contractor Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald have been able to reduce an initial plan to close the road for 14 weeks to five.

The spokesman said: "By changing the design and working methods, significant work is being undertaken safely under reduced traffic control, including lane restrictions, traffic signals and night-time closures. This is being followed by the five-week closure, when access is required to excavate and strengthen the existing road construction.