The A354 is a primary route in England which runs from Salisbury in Wiltshire to Easton on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, a total distance of 51 miles (82 km). From Salisbury the road crosses Cranborne Chase and briefly merges with the A350 at the Blandford Forum bypass before crossing the Dorset Downs and merging with the A35 at the Puddletown bypass. 7 miles (11 km) to the west it splits from the Dorchester bypass and runs south. The road now bypasses Upwey and Broadwey on a new section of road which has some 2 lane sections going north and 1 lane continuously going south towards Weymouth. After the old and new sections meet at Manor Roundabout the road follows down Weymouth Way alongside Radipole Lake. The final stretch runs across a short bridge over Chesil beach onto Portland.
The project was to build a 3.75-mile (6.04 km) single carriageway road, with crawler lane along part, linking the A354 Manor Roundabout near Radipole to the A354 at the top of the Ridgeway Hill. The main carriageway of the Weymouth Relief Road opened on Thursday 17 March 2011.
The 2012 Olympics at Portland played a major factor in making £89m funding for the road available.
1983 - The Dorset Structure Plan proposed to construct the A354 Weymouth, Ridgeway to Mount Pleasant improvement as a primary route.
December 1987 to April 1988 - a public inquiry was held into proposals for development in the Lorton area which included a new single carriagewayroute running from Mount Pleasant to Littlemoor. These proposals were refused consent by the Secretary of State.
Between 1989 and 1992 - various studies and consultation exercises undertaken into alternative route options and alignments for a dual carriageway road between the Ridgeway and north Weymouth.
1992 - work on a planning application and Environmental Statement for this scheme began.
July 1994 - a dual carriageway road along the alignment was granted planning permission.
1996 - A public inquiry into the Compulsory Purchase and Side Road Orders was held. The Secretary of State approved these orders. However, work on the scheme was never started as, following a Government review of road construction, the funding for the scheme was not forthcoming. The planning permission lapsed after 5 years.
Following the lapse of permission Dorset County Council undertook a review of the previously consented scheme. The previous dual carriageway route was rejected in light of changing policy guidance, developments within the area of the proposed route and new information about the ecological value of areas along the route.
A new preferred route for a single carriageway road was identified, running from Manor Roundabout alongside the eastern side of the Weymouth/Dorchester railway to Littlemoor, through Littlemoor and then parallel with the alignment of the railway to the Ridgeway (often referred to as the Orange Route).
December 2003 - the Government Office of the South West confirmed that this scheme was 'Provisionally Accepted', subject to completion of all relevant statutory processes and final approval of Ministers.
September 2005 - a planning application and Environmental Statement for a road along the preferred route was submitted by Dorset County Council. However, the application was not determined as, following its submission and at the request of the planning authority, the council carried out further studies, including an examination of the potential for further reducing the effects on the environment, especially those parts which are nationally designated.
As a result of the council's re-assessment, changes were made to the September 2005 proposals, primarily to the stretch of road through the AONB.
March 2011 - Relief Road was opened