Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.
How do I report drivers who are breaking the law by not abiding by the road signage?
Reports can be made either by phone on the non-emergency number 101, or via the Hampshire Police website, using the "Report" facility, available here.
Is it possible to access the cricket pavilion from the A31/Chawton Roundabout?
Yes, access to the cricket pavilion from the A31/Chawton roundabout is maintained.
What is the pedestrian route to Chawton/Jane Austin's House?
A safe route has been provided through the roadworks. A plan is available here.
When will the road actually be closed and the diversion route in place?
During the day and overnight on Friday 25 January, the traffic management arrangements that facilitate the diversion routes will be installed. These will be in full effect by the morning of Saturday 26 January.
Which part of Whitedown Lane will be closed?
Whitedown Lane will be closed at a point from its junction with Butts Road, Selborne Road and Winchester Road, to a point approximately 65m north west of that junction and south east of the entrance to the French Horn public house, including both roundabouts.
Will traffic be able to pass through the works area?
Traffic will be permitted through/around the works to and from The Butts Road to Selborne Road and vice versa.
Cyclists will be able to access Chawton Park Road from the centre of Alton, following the designated Sustrans Route 23 (recently renumbered 242) as normal.
When will Winchester Road be closed, and the new link road opened?
Overnight on 25 January, once Whitedown Lane has been closed, the end of Winchester Road will be closed and access to Winchester Road will be switched to be via the new link road (to be named Winchester Road) off Selborne Road.
Why can’t a temporary road be built across the Village Green?
This was considered at an early stage but was opposed because of required excavation work that would disturb the amenity of the Village Green.
The cost of constructing a temporary road (which would need to be at least 8m wide and require temporary footways, crossing points and lowering of underground utilities) would exceed the cost of the alternative diversion route.
Why can’t the local road be reopened to provide access to Butts Road?
This was considered at an early stage but there were concerns about the width of the carriageway and the restricted turning circles at each end of Whitedown Lane and Butts Road. It would require temporary traffic signals to control traffic and would result in an increase in congestion and journey times. The proposed diversion route will provide a more ‘free flowing’ gyratory system.
How will the “free-flow” of traffic be achieved?
The free-flow of traffic will be aided by the very limited use of temporary traffic lights and the supporting no waiting/parking and one-way sections on Chawton Park and Ackender roads.
The single set of two-way lights at Northfield Lane approaching from the Chawton roundabout, are for “access only” purposes, principally to facilitate access to Chawton Park Farm and the properties on Northfield Lane.
Which bridge is affected by the Butts Bridge works?
These works will demolish and replace the brick arch bridge over Whitedown Lane. The steel bridge over Butts Road will remain in situ and untouched.
Will local businesses be affected?
Care has been taken to maintain access to the French Horn Pub and signage will be erected to this effect. The car park will be accessed from Whitedown Lane, approached via the southbound diversion route.
Likewise, Philips Garage on Ackender Road will remain open for business as usual and signage erected accordingly. Access will be two-way from the south. Traffic approaching from the north will need to find an alternative route via the signed diversion.
The Everyone Active Sports Centre, Chawton Park Surgery, Alton Community Hospital and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre, will all remain open as usual. Access will be two-way for local traffic. Traffic approaching from the A31 south will not be able to access from the Chawton roundabout. Instead, it will be necessary to travel to the next roundabout and follow the northbound diversion route to approach Chawton Park Road from the A339 Whitedown Lane.
What will happen to Mid Hants Railway?
There will be no Mid Hants Railway trains operating to or from Alton station for the duration of the bridge works. Trains instead will run from Alresford to Medstead.
There will be a free bus service for passengers from Alton Station. Connecting MHR bus services to and from Alton Station will be available on weekends, bank holidays and special events.
Please refer to the Watercress Line’s website for more information.
The Stagecoach 64 will also run from Alton Station to Station Approach, Medstead, every half an hour on Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sundays.
My children normally catch the 38 bus at the sports centre/community hospital to get to school every morning. Where will they catch their bus from during the road closure?
The best alternative is that they catch the bus from The Butts (Lincoln Green).
How will lorries be prevented from not following the diversion route and taking a short cut through the villages?
The Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association have been informed about the road closure and associated diversion, and they will be forewarning their members and advising them to follow the designated diversion route for HGVs.
HGVs will be advised through advance roadside signage of the road closure and to follow the A31, and subsequently the A331 and M3 (and vice versa).
What escape routes will be provided?
Should large goods vehicle drivers fail to acknowledge the advance diversion route signage, they could find themselves travelling towards the closure without a place to turn around. Consideration has therefore, been paid to escape routes, which will be signed to cover this eventuality.
From the A339 south, HGV drivers would be routed along Butts Road / Draymans Way / Orchard Lane / Normandy Street / Anstey Road / London Road / Montecchio Way to re-join the A31 Farnham route. This route is not subject to any TROs that would restrict HGV movements and is suitably wide along its length.
From the A339 north, HGV drivers would be routed along the B3349 Basingstoke Road / B3349 New Odiham Road / B3349 Alton Road / B3349 Dunleys Hill / B3349 Hook road to re-join the A31 Farnham route. This is a signed HGV route that has been used as an HGV diversion by Hampshire County Council in the past.
What roadside warning information will be provided to HGVs?
HGVS will be directed to the A31, A331, M3 diversion (and vice versa) via signage positioned at:
A339 southbound (near Basingstoke)
A339 northbound (near Ham Barn Roundabout)
A31 westbound (near Wrecclesham Road Roundabout)
A31 eastbound (near Percy Hobbs Roundabout)
Will there be any local signage to tell people to stick to the diversion route?
Road signage will be put in place to direct road users and inform them of the route that should be used.
The road closure and diversion routes are the subject of a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), which is legally enforceable. Compliance will be anticipated in the same way that all road users are fully expected to comply with the law.
Local roads that are not suitable for diverted traffic will be signposted to this effect.
Will the road closure and diversion routes be monitored?
Once the traffic management changes have been introduced, we will monitor conditions carefully in association with the Hampshire Highways team. Should issues arise, we will move to resolve them as quickly and efficiently as possible using the provisions included in the TTRO, which legalises both the temporary closure of Whitedown Lane for the construction works, and the traffic management changes necessary to facilitate the diversion route.
Taking the scheme as a whole, with both northbound and southbound routes having one-way sections complemented by ‘no waiting’ zones, which will aid the flow of traffic, coupled with the removal of the difficult Butts Bridge junction allowing the free-flow of two-way traffic from Selbourne Road to Butts Road, we believe overall traffic flows around town will not be adversely affected once drivers have familiarised themselves with the new arrangements.
How will residents of the Treloars Estate along Chawton Park Road return to their properties?
Treloars Estate residents will need to follow the northbound diversion route. This is because a section of Chawton Park Road will be one way to accommodate the increased traffic that is anticipated to the A31 and to ensure the free-flow of this traffic. This is also a safety feature of the approved arrangements.
Similarly, the northbound diversion route has a section of one-way traffic on Ackender Road to ensure the free-flow of traffic in this direction and the safety of others. Both one-way sections will be supported by the enforcement of ‘no parking/waiting’ restrictions.
We are sorry for any inconvenience individual residents may be caused. The arrangements have been agreed after lengthy consultation and negotiation and are considered to be the best option for the majority. We are confident that traffic will be kept moving effectively when using the approved diversion routes keeping any inconvenience to a minimum.
Why are the works required and why will they take six months to complete?
Alton was identified in the Local Plan as having a requirement for additional housing over the next few years. To facilitate future growth in traffic, this highway scheme is being constructed to relieve congestion on the A339. The current construction work on the A339 is to provide two new roundabouts to increase capacity on the network and provide safer crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
The bridge replacement, which is what requires the partial closure of Whitedown Lane, will provide space to construct the northernmost roundabout. It is not a like for like replacement. On completion, the bridge span will increase, ranging in width from 20-31m, due to the orientation of the western abutment.
This involves extensive earthworks (4,500m3) and the removal of 140m of track, sleepers, signalling and telecoms equipment.
The replacement bridge will include piling works, reinforced concrete abutments and retaining walls and the installation of a new steel bridge.
In addition, significant diversions of underground utilities (gas, telecoms and electric) are required. Gas and electric work will be undertaken concurrently while BT will come in at a later phase to complete an underground chamber, new cabinets, cabling and re-wiring.
Once all this has been completed, works will take place to backfill track ballast, reinstate sleepers and track, reconnect test and commission signals and telecoms.
The final phase will be to complete the northernmost roundabout. Again, this will involve diversion of services from the highway to footpaths and completion of the roundabout, drainage, surfacing and new lighting.
All this work will be completed within a restricted working area whilst maintaining a traffic route on to Butts Road for local traffic.