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What’s the beef?

Canford Bottom's controversial 'Hamburger' roundabout is captured by Grahame Austin of Kitchenham Photography

Normally, the answer to the question: ‘What do you get when you cross a roundabout with a road?’ is, ‘a flyover’. At Canford Bottom, two miles due east of Wimborne Minster, however, the answer is a ‘Hamburger’ roundabout. It is so called because of the resemblance of the west-east main road (which, confusingly runs southwest to northeast across the junction) to the ‘burger’ in the ‘burger bun’ of the roundabout. To go straight on along the A31, one continues, well, straight on. To go left or right from the main road, one goes left, and then uses the roundabout as usual… as usual, that is, apart from the inordinate number of traffic lights on this roundabout.
The principle is a simple one: in order to permit the relatively uninterrupted flow of traffic along the arterial road, the traffic’s flow is only occasionally stopped by a red light in the east-west and west-east carriageway in order to permit traffic to/or from any of the four entrance roads.
Lest this not appear complicated enough, there are fourteen lanes coming onto the roundabout and nine coming off it, not including the ‘toucan’ crossing – where two (cyclists and pedestrians) can cross to/from the Longham/Colehill roads without having to circumnavigate the roundabout, and there are also around seventy sets of traffic lights on the roundabout; even the Highways Agency website is a little vague on the actual number.
The roundabout, which was budgeted to cost £5.7million, but ended up costing closer to £9million, was created as it was a cheaper alternative to a flyover and to reduce congestion on the A31 for the 2012 games and afterwards. Anecdotally, this has been successful… in that local residents are seeking alternative routes rather than face using the roundabout.

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