Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

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Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by TS » Tue Jan 25, 2022 17:04

Evening all

Just saw this chap's Flickr account and he has around 200 photos from the time that the Wessex Way was built around Bournemouth town centre.

They are here:
https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id= ... ssex%20way

Thought they might be of interest.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by SteveA30 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 13:16

It's amazing what they got away with in those days. Slicing straight through quite expensive looking properties and roads. I often look at the gap in the streets as I pass along there. 40 and 50 limits now.
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by multiraider2 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 13:36

A good set of photos. Bournemouth holidays form some of my earliest memories. But the 1968 trip was the last I think until 1979, so before and much after this work. We went to Broadstairs in 1969 and 1970, so I didn't see the construction for myself.

The trip in '68 involved such fun as a disintigrated gearbox at Alton. Perhaps that's why I have a flash of memory of going on a Trolleybus, as also exampled in these photos. The RAC would have got us there, but I assume the Alton garage employed didn't fix the car for a day or two.
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Truvelo » Wed Jan 26, 2022 14:09

SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 13:16
It's amazing what they got away with in those days. Slicing straight through quite expensive looking properties and roads. I often look at the gap in the streets as I pass along there. 40 and 50 limits now.
What would it be like without it? I can imagine it would be hell trying to get there in the summer so maybe the road has helped the area's prosperity rather than ghettoing the immediate area which is what many urban motorway type roads have done.

Wessex Way was just one of many such roads planned for the area at the time. I'm still trying to gather plans for them but this is some of what I know. Perhaps the experience of those displaced by Wessex Way contributed to the abandonment of the rest of the expressway network?
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Hdeng16 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 20:50

All that effort though and it still feels very unfinished.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by SteveA30 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45

It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. A D2 link south through the Bourne valley and Talbot Heath would have come from the rbt on the A3049 from Mannings Heath, then left to the existing A3049 near the Uni. The short D2 south is a continuation of the unbuilt bit. Not sure if this and Wessex Way roads were meant to link up. More demolition would have been needed.
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by John McAdam » Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30

SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45
It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. [...]
What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Truvelo » Thu Jan 27, 2022 03:36

John McAdam wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30
SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45
It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. [...]
What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.
This shows the route of the entire expressway system planned in the late 60s. I'm still trying to find plans of the junction layouts but only a few have turned up so far.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by TS » Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:20

Truvelo wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 03:36
John McAdam wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30
SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45
It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. [...]
What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.
This shows the route of the entire expressway system planned in the late 60s. I'm still trying to find plans of the junction layouts but only a few have turned up so far.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing
It is easy to see from this map (thank you!) how controversial the building of big new roads is. I am sure it would have been a utopian dream to have had those roads crossing Redhill Common and Talbot Heath and Bourne Bottom.

Now, though, 50-odd years on, while some of the fringes of those parts have had housing estates put onto them (Winston Avenue and Fern Barrow in particular) they have largely been left as heathland and parkland. It is now, to me, unthinkable that Talbot Heath could be criss-crossed by big dual carriageways.

I am sure the 1960s planners and dreamers could have foreseen the exponential increase in traffic on the roads, but it would probably have been difficult to foresee with the same certainty the changing environmental standpoints in opposition to new road building 50 years down the line.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by solocle » Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:45

TS wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:20
Truvelo wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 03:36
John McAdam wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30


What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.
This shows the route of the entire expressway system planned in the late 60s. I'm still trying to find plans of the junction layouts but only a few have turned up so far.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing
It is easy to see from this map (thank you!) how controversial the building of big new roads is. I am sure it would have been a utopian dream to have had those roads crossing Redhill Common and Talbot Heath and Bourne Bottom.

Now, though, 50-odd years on, while some of the fringes of those parts have had housing estates put onto them (Winston Avenue and Fern Barrow in particular) they have largely been left as heathland and parkland. It is now, to me, unthinkable that Talbot Heath could be criss-crossed by big dual carriageways.

I am sure the 1960s planners and dreamers could have foreseen the exponential increase in traffic on the roads, but it would probably have been difficult to foresee with the same certainty the changing environmental standpoints in opposition to new road building 50 years down the line.
Yep... I mean, what's the point of that link to the A35 at Hinton Admiral for starters! Perfectly reasonably served by Castle Lane / Christchurch Bypass / A337. And also going straight across from Alderney to the spur road - Wallisdown Road serves that link.

This looks like an expressway network built for local journeys, which is just utterly silly. You're just going to get more congestion if you do that. Now, connecting Dorset Way to the A31 would make sense for long distance Poole traffic. However, most holidayers head to Bournemouth, not Poole, the big attraction of Poole is the port... and there's Southampton about 30 miles east.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Chris5156 » Thu Jan 27, 2022 12:37

solocle wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:45
This looks like an expressway network built for local journeys, which is just utterly silly. You're just going to get more congestion if you do that.
That's exactly what it was, designed in an era where the idea was to accommodate growth in motor traffic. We don't think like that now, and not many schemes from that era were completed in full, but similar plans existed for most large urban areas across the UK for the same reason.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Peter350 » Thu Jan 27, 2022 16:28

Truvelo wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 03:36
John McAdam wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30
SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45
It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. [...]
What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.
This shows the route of the entire expressway system planned in the late 60s. I'm still trying to find plans of the junction layouts but only a few have turned up so far.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing
While it would never have been built in a million years due to carving through the New Forest, that motorway link from Picket Post to West Parley would have been incredibly useful for long-distance traffic. Would have prevented the congestion issues around Ringwood, Ferndown and Wimborne to this day.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by matt-thepie » Thu Jan 27, 2022 16:39

John McAdam wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 23:30
SteveA30 wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 21:45
It does at the Westboune end. It was supposed to continue to Poole, ploughing through many more houses. [...]
What was the plan for the Wessex Way at the western end? I can easily imagine it getting as far as the Redlands roundabout (Pottery Junction), or at least hugging the rail line as far as Branksome Station and then crashing into Poole Road, but heading further west into Poole it's hard to picture a possible route.
Some houses on Princess Road were CPOd, presumably for the continuation, but I've never seen a plan using that route.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Peter350 » Thu Jan 27, 2022 17:17

Was the now disused viaduct over the Bourne Valley which links the SWML east with the former Bournemouth West branch ever intended to have a road built over it? It looks too narrow for a dual carriageway but could have accommodated a S2 road if the master plan had been watered down rather than shelved altogether.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Vierwielen » Thu Jan 27, 2022 22:59

My in-laws used to live in Ferndown and my mother and grandmother in Bridport.

When visiting my mother, I use to curse the A31 between Ferndown and Bere Regis - it was a really slow road. I never thought of taking the Wessex Way and that would have forced me to navigate through Bournemouth and Poole. It seems to me that a pre-requisite for building the Wessex Way through Bournemouth and out through Poole and Bere Regis would have been ensuring that the A31 was up to scratch.

The setting up of the BCP Unitary Authority poses some interesting questions - the Wessex Way lies mostly within the BCP and the A31 mostly in the Dorset Unitary Authority.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by TS » Sat Jan 29, 2022 21:11

Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 22:59
My in-laws used to live in Ferndown and my mother and grandmother in Bridport.

When visiting my mother, I use to curse the A31 between Ferndown and Bere Regis - it was a really slow road. I never thought of taking the Wessex Way and that would have forced me to navigate through Bournemouth and Poole. It seems to me that a pre-requisite for building the Wessex Way through Bournemouth and out through Poole and Bere Regis would have been ensuring that the A31 was up to scratch.

The setting up of the BCP Unitary Authority poses some interesting questions - the Wessex Way lies mostly within the BCP and the A31 mostly in the Dorset Unitary Authority.
I live in Northbourne, so the northwest suburbs of Bournemouth, and it is interesting to note that most satnavs suggest that I use the A31 Merley to Bere Regis, rather than the Ringwood Road/Dorset Way/A35 to Bere Regis, for journeys west of there.

And, in fact, I have never used a satnav but I always tend to go for the A31 route. Never too much of a holdup, in my experience.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Vierwielen » Sat Jan 29, 2022 21:45

TS wrote:
Sat Jan 29, 2022 21:11
Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 22:59
My in-laws used to live in Ferndown and my mother and grandmother in Bridport.

When visiting my mother, I use to curse the A31 between Ferndown and Bere Regis - it was a really slow road. I never thought of taking the Wessex Way and that would have forced me to navigate through Bournemouth and Poole. It seems to me that a pre-requisite for building the Wessex Way through Bournemouth and out through Poole and Bere Regis would have been ensuring that the A31 was up to scratch.

The setting up of the BCP Unitary Authority poses some interesting questions - the Wessex Way lies mostly within the BCP and the A31 mostly in the Dorset Unitary Authority.
I live in Northbourne, so the northwest suburbs of Bournemouth, and it is interesting to note that most satnavs suggest that I use the A31 Merley to Bere Regis, rather than the Ringwood Road/Dorset Way/A35 to Bere Regis, for journeys west of there.

And, in fact, I have never used a satnav but I always tend to go for the A31 route. Never too much of a holdup, in my experience.
I agree, not much of a hold-up, but after using the M3, M27 and A31 through the New Forest and then using the A31 between Bere Regis and Dorchester, that section of the A31 is slow!

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Truvelo » Sat Jan 29, 2022 22:08

Vierwielen wrote:
Sat Jan 29, 2022 21:45
TS wrote:
Sat Jan 29, 2022 21:11
Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 22:59
My in-laws used to live in Ferndown and my mother and grandmother in Bridport.

When visiting my mother, I use to curse the A31 between Ferndown and Bere Regis - it was a really slow road. I never thought of taking the Wessex Way and that would have forced me to navigate through Bournemouth and Poole. It seems to me that a pre-requisite for building the Wessex Way through Bournemouth and out through Poole and Bere Regis would have been ensuring that the A31 was up to scratch.

The setting up of the BCP Unitary Authority poses some interesting questions - the Wessex Way lies mostly within the BCP and the A31 mostly in the Dorset Unitary Authority.
I live in Northbourne, so the northwest suburbs of Bournemouth, and it is interesting to note that most satnavs suggest that I use the A31 Merley to Bere Regis, rather than the Ringwood Road/Dorset Way/A35 to Bere Regis, for journeys west of there.

And, in fact, I have never used a satnav but I always tend to go for the A31 route. Never too much of a holdup, in my experience.
I agree, not much of a hold-up, but after using the M3, M27 and A31 through the New Forest and then using the A31 between Bere Regis and Dorchester, that section of the A31 is slow!
Dualling between Bere Regis and A350 was planned in the 90s. This would have left A350 to Wimborne as the only unimproved section.
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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Vierwielen » Sat Jan 29, 2022 22:30

Truvelo wrote:
Sat Jan 29, 2022 22:08
... snip...

Dualling between Bere Regis and A350 was planned in the 90s....
It was planned to complete metrication by 1975. When I last checked, we were still using mph. That was, let me see ..... 2022-1975 = 47 years ago! We can't always trust politician's plams.

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Re: Construction of Wessex Way (A338 Bournemouth town-centre bypass) 1969-70

Post by Richardf » Tue Feb 01, 2022 21:57

While the Wessex way cuts the town in two, it does do a good job and has allowed the old town centre to be pedestrianised and improved. I dread to think what Bournemouth would be like without it. Some form of ring road might have been created from existing streets to bypass the town centre but eventually something better would have been needed. A relief road further out maybe?

I've long thought that if there was a decent link between Poole and the A31 near Wimborne then the A35 would be a better route westwards to Bere Regis and could even be dualled (probably easier to do than the A31). Forget the old Poole Link Road plans, replace the A349 and A350 with a new D2 and you could bypass the A31 altogether!
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