Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Permanent closure for relief road

Protester up one of the ancient trees
Clearance work for the road in December sparked a tree-top protest

A Dorset road is set to be closed permanently as construction continues on an 87m relief road between Dorchester and Weymouth.

Work on the scheme began in December, and on 2 March Broadmayne Road will be closed at its junction with the A354.

For safety reasons it will also be shut to pedestrians and horseriders between the A354 junction and near Down Farm.

Clearance work for the scheme sparked a tree-top protest at Two Mile Coppice until a possession order was secured.

Andy Ackerman, Dorset County Council head of highways, said the closure will allow the major earthworks operation in the Ridgeway area to start.

"This junction will not reopen. Originally the relief road proposals included a junction at the top of Ridgeway that kept access to Broadmayne Road from the A354.

"This was removed from the scheme in consultation with Natural England, and other statutory bodies, to minimise the visual and environmental impact it had within an area of outstanding natural beauty."

A diversion route will be provided for walkers and horseriders until the Ridgeway Bridge over the relief road is opened.

The Weymouth relief road is intended to ease traffic around Weymouth and Portland, which are hosting Olympic sailing events.

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