AS MANY AS 70 new signs are about to be installed on one of Hampshire's busiest roads in a bid to cut the accident rate.

The Highways Agency says 70 signs on the A31 between Ringwood and Cadnam will boost safety on the route, which has seen a spate of fatal crashes in the past few weeks.

Victims include 16-year-old Jade Clark, of Ringwood, who was killed in a crash near the town last year.

The new signs follow a long campaign by Ringwood Town Council and New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne.

Highways Agency asset manager Philip Sheppard said: “Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency and the installation of these signs will help drivers on their journeys along the A31, helping them to pick the correct lanes for their trip and avoid last-minute lane changes.”

Work on the scheme is due to start on Monday and will result in several overnight closures of the A31.

The westbound carriageway between the M27 and the A338 Ringwood roundabout will be closed between 10pm and 6am on August 18, August 19, August 26, August 27, September 1 and September 2.

Further overnight closures between Poulner Hill and the Verwood Interchange will occur on August 28, September 3, September 4 and September 8.

Drivers travelling westbound will be diverted via the A326, A35, A3060 and A338.

Similar overnight closures on the eastbound carriageway will take place between the Ashley Heath roundabout and the M27, August 20 and 21.

Drivers travelling eastbound will be diverted via the A338, A3060, A35 and A326.