WORK on a £450,000 scheme to improve a Hampshire junction branded a danger to cyclists could start in the autumn.

Earlier this year Hampshire County Council was given the go-ahead to turn Ipley Crossroads, between Lyndhurst and Dibden, into a staggered junction.

The authority welcomed the decision but confirmed that the scheme also had to be approved by the government.

Its latest update says: "Detailed survey works are currently being undertaken along with a review of the existing safety measures at the junction.

"It is hoped the improvement scheme can start in the autumn, once all the necessary approvals and agreements are in place.”

Ipley Crossroads, near Beaulieu, has been the scene of more than 50 injury accidents - including two fatalities - over the past 20 years.

Plans to turn it into a staggered junction were approved by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) in January.

A new section of the C97 Lyndhurst to Ipley route will be built to create a T-junction 50 metres south of the current crossroads, with the redundant section of road returning to open forest.

The NPA report said: "The C97 has 'Stop' markings at the junction.

"However, the open nature of the crossroads has resulted in many drivers ignoring road safety at this junction and driving straight over the C63 Beaulieu Road without giving way.

"A number of casualty reduction schemes have been implemented at the site. However, the impact of these is declining."

Four years ago the junction was named as one of the worst in the country for accidents involving bikes.