THE temporary reversal of the flow of a one-way road in the centre of Swanage will be used to assess the effect of a permanent switch.

Swanage Town Council has previously requested the flow of traffic along Kings Road East be switched permanently from north to south as a way of reducing congestion.

And speaking on Wednesday, Dorset Council project engineer Andrew Bradley said its impact would be assessed while the change is temporarily made for it to be used as a diversion.

Kings Road East will become the alternative route for southbound traffic whilst pavements are widened on nearby Institute Road – a scheme signed off by the council’s eastern planning committee on Wednesday.

“Swanage Town Council has long had an aspiration to reverse the flow of Kings Road East,” Mr Bradley said.

“During the construction we are going to do this with an experimental traffic regulation order. We can’t tell how that’s going to work but it is the perfect opportunity to assess it.

“That can sit there for 18 months and between the town council and ourselves we will be able to judge as to whether it works.”

Work on Institute Road will see the road narrowed to 3.5m with existing loading bays removed and pavements widened.

The £450,000 project is aimed at making the road safer for pedestrians. It was sparked by the 2015 collision in which four people were seriously injured.

New loading bays will be installed in Station Road.

Swanage Town Council will contribute £100,000 of the cost of the work – a sum, councillor Bill Trite said, “reflected its importance to Swanage”.

“We have been lucky in the past with having surprisingly few incidents but the 2015 crash shows how dangerous this road can be,” he said. “I think we were lucky to escape without a fatality.

“We would be neglecting our duty if we did not go ahead with this.”

The project was unanimously backed by members of the committee.

Work is expected to start “imminently” and last until May.

During construction Kings Road East will become the main access road for the south of the town.

This will also involve the stretch of High Street between Kings Road East and Institute Road becoming two-way and controlled through the use of temporary traffic lights.