A SERIES of overnight closures of the A31 for roadworks have begun earlier than planned.

According to a notice from Highways England, published in the Daily Echo last week, the phased overnight closure of the road between Cadnam and Bere Regis was due to begin on September 17, lasting for seven months.

However, this week there have been three overnight closures of the westbound carriageway between Cadnam and the Ashley Heath roundabout, and last night an overnight closure of the A31 eastbound including the slip road onto Ashley Heath.

Also, there were lane closures at the Canford Bottom roundabout.

Engineers were carrying out a mixture of drainage system survey work and line repainting.

A spokesman for Highways England confirmed that work had already started on the scheme, although according to the notice the traffic order is only due to come into force on September 15.

The spokesman said: “I can confirm that Highways England will be carrying out maintenance and repair work at separate locations along the length of the A31 between Cadnam and Bere Regis.

“The work has already started and is expected to continue until the end of the financial year, the work will be phased and not carried out all at the same time to minimise disruption.”

She added: “Yellow work notification signs will also be displayed along the road well in advance of work starting to give people time to plan ahead.”

The on-going works will see both carriageways of the A31 closed overnight in phases between Cadnam and Bere Regis, including slip roads, some side roads and bus stops along the route.

The maximum period over which the road will be closed is from 9pm through to 6am, while traffic affected by the closures would be diverted using nearby roads including the A35, A36, A350 and A338 Spur Road.

Next week will see further work to renew road markings.

Lane closures will be back in place at the Canford Bottom roundabout starting at 10pm on Tuesday and through to 6am the following morning, for two nights.

This includes the section through the centre of the roundabout.

The road will also again be closed eastbound between the A347 Palmersford Roundabout (Ferndown) to the A338 Ashley Heath Roundabout between the same times, starting on Friday.

A diversion will be in place via Ringwood Road, West Parley, Hurn and the A338.

Highways England has major works scheduled for early 2020, which will see the A31 widened to include extra lanes as it passes by Ringwood - a project expected to cost some £12 million.

Concerns have been expressed that this project will be under way while Bournemouth council is carrying out major work on the Spur Road to build a new slip road to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.