Coast Road campaigners’ delight as white lines return after 6 years

Courtesy of Dorset Echo

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating victory as white lines have finally been reinstated on a notorious stretch of road.

Residents have been lobbying for more than four years to have the lines repainted in the middle of the B3157 coast road between Weymouth and Bridport.

They said the lack of markings added to the danger of the road, which has seen a number of serious accidents in recent years.

The lines and signage were removed after Dorset County Council resurfaced the road.

But following a public outcry it agreed in January to repaint the lines.

They were finally completed yesterday evening.

Sue Parran, landlady of the Bull Inn at Swyre, who has been leading the campaign, said: “We started campaigning in 2008 – it’s taken us that long to get here.

“We’d like to say thank you to MP Oliver Letwin for all his assistance and everybody else who has helped us.

“This has made the road a lot safer for local residents and visitors – I certainly will feel a lot happier on the road now.

“We used to get people coming in saying ‘I don’t like driving on that road.’ “This will definitely have a positive impact on safety.”

She added that the work is not quite over yet as she would like to see warning signs reinstated to warn drivers of blind summits.

Henry Ford, Abbotsbury chairman of Chesil Bank Parish Council, said: “I am very pleased and relieved that we have got the white lines back.

“Residents can now feel safe driving along the route.

“It is necessary to have them there, especially in thick fog.”

Figures considered by members of Dorset County Council’s cabinet showed that since the implementation of the coast road scheme in December 2008 to September last year there had been 73 collisions in which somebody had been injured compared to 66 in the same period before the scheme was introduced.

Of those collisions, four resulted in fatalities and 19 in serious injuries.

Resident Derrick Roberts said: “I work on Portland and in winter it is dangerous without white lines. At least now motorists can see what side of the road they should be on and this will help to avoid accidents.”

District councillor for Bradpole, Ronald Coatsworth, said: “I am absolutely delighted the lines have been reinstated.

“We have spent years struggling against the decision of the officers not to put the markings back.

“It’s been a long, hard struggle.

“Now we have got to get on and develop the road as a tourist route.”

Campaigners were helped in their bid by West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, who said he was pleased ‘common sense’ had at last prevailed.

They say there is ‘still work to be done’ to install all the signage they feel is necessary.

Barbara James, 80, from Burton Bradstock, said she would now feel safer driving along the coast road after nightfall.

She added: “We have at last achieved what we wanted.”

Reinstating the white lines cost around £10,000.

A council spokesman said: “After resurfacing the road, centre line markings were not replaced at some locations and removed on other sections of the road. The move was part of work to enhance the environment and improve road safety.

“A 50mph speed limit was applied between the villages as a result of local consultation and centre warning lines at junctions and identified hazards also remained. Continuous edge markings and cats’ eyes were also put in place along the route.”

Further work was done in 2012 in response to a road safety audit.

The county council said the work ‘addressed some inconsistency’ in markings and signs along the route.