A CRASH partially blocked a key road in West Dorset today (Wednesday, November 18) which is believed to have been caused by a missing manhole cover.

The westbound carriageway of the A35 between Morecombelake and Charmouth was partially blocked in both directions due to a collision near Berne Lane at around 11am.

Dorset Police initially responded to a report about a manhole cover was missing on the road but upon arrival, officers found two vehicles had crashed on the carriageway.

Both vehicles have since been recovered from the carriageway but a lane closure is in place around the manhole.

It is believed the missing manhole cover caused the collision. 

The incident is causing congestion between Bridport and Lyme Regis and motorists are advised to allow plenty of journey time. 

Traffic maps show delays in both directions as motorists travel past the scene.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "We received a report at around 11am that a manhole cover was missing on the westbound carriageway of the A35 between Morecombelake and Charmouth.

"Officers attended the scene and it was reported that two vehicles had been damaged in the incident.

"The highways authority has been contacted and the damaged vehicles have been recovered.

"Officers are remaining at the scene as the area is made safe."

First Wessex shared online that the collision and subsequent lane closure was affecting their X51 and X53 bus services.

A spokesman said: “We will be expecting delays on the X51 and X53.  There is no diversion route so the buses will just have to sit and wait in the traffic.”

An update from Travel Dorset reads: "A35 both ways partially blocked, slow traffic due to recovery work and accident near the Whitchurch Canonicorum Turn-Off (Berne Lane).

“This accident was thought to have cleared, however recovery is in progress. Services X51 and X53 are delayed. Affecting traffic between Lyme Regis and Bridport.”