NATIONAL Highways has defended its A31 bridge replacement project workforce after receiving comments workers “are standing around on their phones”.

The government-owned company in charge of the major roadworks on the A31 at Ringwood provided explanations as to why residents may not see work taking place and defended their crews having apparently received complaints.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “We’ve received comments that you might not always see work taking place on site, or workers are standing around on their phones.

“It may appear like nothing is happening on site – there is always something going on.

Salisbury Journal: A31 bridge replacement project at Ringwood. Picture: National HighwaysA31 bridge replacement project at Ringwood. Picture: National Highways

“We have a number of people working on our site, many of which have specialist skills or specific roles. This includes machinery operators, banksmen managing the movement of vehicles, and slingers looking after connections and loads.

“Many tasks follow on from each other, meaning it’s only once one activity is complete the next can start. There are also activities that take place in trenches or under the bridges.

“For ease, we use mobile apps to record progress and other data, so it may appear like someone texting when they are actually recording or updating details of completed work, or providing information to the wider team.”

They also highlighted several community outreach events carried out last month. On May 19, 22 students and their teachers from the Ringwood Waldorf School joined an engineer on the West Street bridge to witness the 75-tonne crane in operation as it lifted bridge beams as part of the demolition.

Salisbury Journal: A31 bridge replacement works at Ringwood in May/June 2022. Picture by Derek MaidmentA31 bridge replacement works at Ringwood in May/June 2022. Picture by Derek Maidment

This was followed up the next week with a visit to the school by a National Highways team to talk and engage with pupils about the scheme.

Later in May, they talked with members of the Ringwood Veterans’ Hub – which included a number of former engineers – and also met with members of the Greyfriars Community and local business groups in June.

In order to stay on schedule, crews worked throughout the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend earlier this month.

Working hours for crews on the A31 are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday – 7am to 8pm
  • Saturdays – 7.30am to 5.30pm
  • Sundays and bank holidays – 9am to 5pm

For more information, email or call 0300 123 5000.