A WEST Dorset pensioner who couldn’t cross the road to shop in her village because it was too busy is delighted a puffin crossing is to be built.

The campaign to improve road safety in Chideock gained momentum four years ago after partially sighted Nancy Underwood, 89, told how she used to catch a bus to get to the other side of the A35.

Her elaborate – and time consuming – solution was to get on a bus to do her shopping in Bridport, catch a bus back to Charmouth where she could cross the road safely and get on another bus to Chideock.

Mrs Underwood said she was happy to see work starting at last even though she is now too old to take her bus journeys to shop.

She said: “I don’t use the buses as much now because my daughter takes me once a week.

“I think the crossing is a good thing and I am glad it’s coming. But everybody never wants everything. There are people who feel it is more important to have everything very quiet and there are people who want to get out and do something with their life.

“The amount of traffic going through now is very much more than four years ago and it will be very much more again in another four years. The real answer is a bypass but that is wishful thinking.”

After completing a compulsory purchase order for land to get the crossing built the Highways Agency has finally begun work to put in a puffin crossing by the Londis shop to help her and others cross the busy A35.

But some residents say it will create more problems than solutions.

The Clock House Inn bar manager Jon Greetham, 37, said it would be ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

“There are no positives whatsoever,” he said.

“Having witnessed the last incident when a lorry lost its brakes and frequently seeing lorries with smoking brakes it’s a concern that someone will be on the crossing.”

Retired resident Audrey Skinner has equal concerns. She said: “I think it’s going to cause terrible congestion and pollution. I think it’s going to be dangerous.”

Mrs Skinner added the lack of pavement on the south side of the road would mean people walking to the crossing on the road.

Opponents also cite high levels of pollution as a cause for concern and say eight bus stops and a new crossing would lead to more congestion.

Sal Robinson, Chideock Parish Council clerk said a study by the Highways Agency 10 years ago highlighted Chideock as a ‘separated’ community with a high priority need for a crossing.

A study on where to site the crossing involved a village questionnaire, she said, that showed a clear majority wanting one.