A KEY road into a Dorset town will close overnight for major resurfacing works– and the official diversion route will take drivers on a 21.4-mile trip around two counties.

A 1,510-metre (0.9 mile) section of the B3081 Shaftesbury Road into Gillingham, between Newbury Roundabout to the junction with Cole Street Lane, will be closed to allow Dorset Council to resurface the B-road.

The Travel Dorset service states the B-road will be closed in both directions between 7pm and 6am on Monday, January 11 to Saturday, January 30. The road will be open during the day and at weekends.

The B3081 is one of many key roads being repaired by Dorset Highway's maintenance crews across the county this month as workers continue to keep key routes in good condition during lockdown.

Travel Dorset has published the official diversion route online, which will take approximately 34 minutes to follow the 21.4-mile route and take drivers across Dorset and into Wiltshire.

Residents and businesses in the area have also been notified of the roadworks and subsequent road closure and diversion route.

To bypass the road closure, drivers must head south-east on B3081 for three miles before turning left onto B3081 Bleke Street.

Motorists will follow the road for a short distance before taking the third exit on the Ivy Cross Roundabout onto A350 Grosvenor Road.

Drivers will travel on the A350 for 7.2 miles before turning right onto the slip road for the A303 Westbound.

From here, motorists will drive towards the exit towards Mere/Zeals and exit the A303 before turning left onto B3092 Castle Street.

Drivers will turn right onto B3092 Mapperton Hill and travel towards Gillingham. At the roundabout, take the second exit and stay on B3092 and take the second exit onto B3092 Le Neubourg Way at the following roundabout.

Motorists will continue to follow Le Neubourg Way and take the second exit on Newbury/B3081 at the roundabout.

The reason for the length of the diversion is because the closure is on an B-road and therefore any official alternative route must use the same class of road.

Alternatively, there are a number of shorter but unofficial routes that drivers can take to avoid the road closure. These not suitable for HGVs and should be avoided if using larger machinery.

Dorset Council warns that any person who breaches the road closure could be convicted or face a fine not exceeding £1,000.

The diversion route will be signposted on the road.