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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Weymouth Branch Line track removal

In October 2020, Dorset Highways will start work to remove the disused railway tracks along Weymouth harbourside.

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that Dorset Council was successful in its joint bid with Network Rail for funding to dismantle and remove the rails and to reinstate the carriageway, which are an ongoing hazard to cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

The redundant railway line runs along the northern side of the harbour from the peninsula area along Custom House Quay and Commercial Road to King Street. They are fully decommissioned and cannot be repurposed for other uses due to their deteriorated condition.

Network Rail is responsible for the old rail infrastructure, with Dorset Council responsible for maintaining the surrounding road.

Removing the lines

The first phase of work is currently scheduled to start in October 2020 and will remove the rails along Commercial Road starting at Kings Street. This work will include any necessary drainage repairs and resurfacing of the road.

The second phase of work will start in early 2021 and remove the rails along Custom House Quay.

Because the tracks run along the middle of the road, removal works will need to take place within a road closure.

We need your help

To help the flow of traffic, drivers are being asked to help by planning ahead and thinking more carefully about their route into town during the work. You may need to use a different route than usual.

For the work to be carried out safely, all closures will be 24-hours-a-day, with a signed diversion route in place to direct traffic around the closed section.

Work will start on Monday 5 October, with a section of Kings Street closed for three days - from the Esso garage to Kings Junction - while the tracks are removed in this section.

Following this, Commercial Road will be closed in sections in a rolling programme - to minimise disruption and keep as much access into the town as possible for businesses and residents - with one section reopening as another closes:

  1. Commercial Road closed from dead-end/terrace to bus depot (Zone B permit holders can use Melcombe Regis Car Park)
  2. Commercial Road closed from bus depot to Melcombe Regis Car Park, car park access/egress south only, Bath Street will be closed during this phase (Zone B permit holders can use Melcombe Regis Car Park) and no access from Gloucester Street onto Commercial Road
  3. Commercial Road closed from Melcombe Regis Car Park to Westham Road, car park access/egress north only, access maintained into Westham Road from the south but no access onto Westham Bridge, no access into Wooperton Street from Commercial Road (Zone H permit holders can use Park Street Car Park)
  4. Commercial Road closed from Westham Road to Mulberry Terrace (town council offices), access maintained into Westham Road from the north
  5. Commercial Road closed from Mulberry Terrace to Harbourside Car Park, car park access from the south only
  6. Commercial Road closed from Harbourside Car Park to multi-storey car park, access maintained into/out of multi-storey car park from the south only
  7. Commercial Road closed from multi-storey car park to Cosens Quay Car Park, access into multi-storey car park from the north and exit southbound only

Please be aware that dates may be subject to change depending on ground conditions. The track removal work will be followed with resurfacing of Commercial Road at the end of November. 

A small section of Custom House Quay, between The Esplanade and South Parade, will also be closed overnight from 8pm to 6am, from 5 October to 10 October. Engineers will be carrying out a drainage investigation and ground penetrating radar survey, which will help complete design work for the road reinstatement after the track removal in this area in 2021.

Diversion routes

If heading into town from the west/over Swannery Bridge:

During work on King Street, from 5 October to end of 7 October, traffic will be diverted to use Weymouth Way – Dorchester Road – Westerhall – The Esplanade – King Street.

During closures on Commercial Road, traffic will be diverted to use King Street – The Esplanade (northbound) – Westerhall – The Esplanade (southbound) – Custom House Quay – Commercial Road.

During night work on Custom House Quay, the diversion route will include South Parade for drivers to access Commercial Road.

To support the diversion of traffic along Custom House Quay, parking spaces between Cosens Quay and South Parade will be temporarily closed and Custom House Quay will become two-way during the work. Zone F Permit holders in this area will be able to use The Pavilion Car Park during the temporary parking restrictions.

Conservation

The project team are working with conservation officers to develop ideas of how best to preserve some historic elements of the Weymouth Branch Line tracks.

This could involve maintaining a section of the track or some way of showing where the railway track was, along with information displays for visitors and residents about the history of the harbour and its impact on the development of the town.

This scheme is working alongside the Weymouth Gateway (Station) and heritage park and Weymouth Harbour Regeneration projects.

Funding

Thirty-two successful councils were awarded a share of £93.4m to repair roads and bridges as part of the latest push by the Government to improve connectivity, by helping councils fix key infrastructure, tackling congestion and improving journeys to make a real difference to road users.

The project to remove the old Weymouth Branch Line tracks was awarded £1.137m by the DfT.

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