HIGHWAY bosses have told Ringwood councillors they aim to deliver a major road scheme on the A31 “significantly” quicker than initially planned.

The multi-million pound scheme being carried out by Highways England to widen the westbound carriageway on the trunk road past Ringwood is scheduled to take 33 weeks.

However, town councillors said Highways England officers told them they could deliver the project in just 13 weeks.

The work, which is due to begin in Spring 2021, will require a closure of the road heading towards the A338 Spur Road.

A contraflow will be used on the eastbound side of the road throughout the work.

Ringwood Town councillors were told the scheme could be delivered in a reduced timeframe.

Cllr Michael Thierry, who is a town, district and county representative, said: “The latest Highways team to come down here said the job could be done in 13 weeks.

“We have to accept if they say they think they can do it, but there is the factor of ‘slippage’, with issues coming to the fore once the work has started.”

Cllr Chris Treleaven, who is on Ringwood Town Council’s A31 improvement working party, said it was positive to hear the the overall disruption of the work could be reduced.

“They hope to reduce the time it takes to do it significantly,” Cllr Treleaven said.

“That would be most acceptable to the residents of Ringwood.

“We would welcome the fact that they are targetting a reduction in the time the work takes.”

The A31 project is being carried out by contractor Jacobs and has been funded from the Department for Transport’s £15bn road improvements war chest.

Delivery of the scheme remains a couple of years away and some areas of the project remain contentious with Ringwood councillors.

Cllr Treleaven said the town council would continue to make representations to Highways England about what they would like to see. This included adopting a 50mph speed limit on the A31 and extending the slip road at the petrol station the full length to the Verwood off-slip.

“In terms of the delivery of the work it is very encouraging to hear what they have to say,” Cllr Treleaven said.

“There are areas of the scheme we have issues with and we will continue to voice our thoughts.”