CONTROVERSIAL plans to remove the rail line from historic Weymouth Harbor are on track to begin this fall.
Drivers are being warned of disruptions as roads will need to be closed when the project starts in October.
Many accidents have been caused by the disused metal railroad tracks, which connect Commercial Road to Custom House Quay, as they become slippery in wet weather and present a hazard to cyclists and motorcyclists.
Dorset Council engineers will begin to use the tracks at King Street, continuing along Commercial Road.
The council also pledged to make the necessary drainage repairs and resurfacing during the project, and said the withdrawal “will reduce the number of incidents along this important and busy stretch of road.”
Last month, in an accident on the tracks, a retired teacher was reduced to eating in a straw following a particularly nasty cycling accident further down the line at Custom House Quay.
However, many residents and local history buffs were dismayed when Dorset Council signaled the end of the line for the tracks earlier this year, when it was announced that the removal project would continue, funded by central government money.
The project follows a successful joint funding offer by the Dorset Council and Network Rail to the Department for Transport (DfT) to dismantle and remove the rails.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: âThere is no denying that this project will cause disruption due to its location and the scale of the work. We hope to minimize the inconvenience by keeping as much access as possible in the city open to ensure businesses can continue to operate.
âThe road will be closed section by section, between junctions where possible, and will move ‘rolling’ so that one section of road is reopened while another is closed.
âSince the rails are in the middle of the road, the only way to safely remove them is to close the road. If necessary, we will put in place temporary traffic measures on neighboring roads for diverted vehicles.
The second phase of the work will begin in early 2021 and will remove the rails along Custom House Quay.
Cllr Bryan added: âThe project team is also working with conservation officers to develop ideas on how best to preserve certain historic features of the Weymouth Branch.
âThis could involve preserving a section of the track in an appropriate area or a way to show where the branch line was, as well as information displays for visitors and residents on the history of the port and how he contributed to the development of the city. ”
The plan to remove the old tracks from the Weymouth branch has received Â£ 1.137million from the Department for Transport.