LATEST (and I don’t plan any further updates as at Thursday 23rd Jan): Dorset Highways are firmly on the case this morning, having installed a high capacity pump. They will run this periodically over the weekend so hopefully the water level will drop sufficiently to allow the drains to be investigated next week. The water level had dropped last week for a while after a Highways bowser pumped it out on Friday (40 tanker fills!) and a few cars then made it through safely – no problem for tractors. However after overnight rain early on the Saturday, the level increased by two courses of bricks (roughly 6 inches) so I would guess it was at least over a foot deep. [When I took Toffee for her walk with my wellingtons on the Monday, it was closer to 2 foot deep]. At its deepest a week earlier, the level was another 7 courses higher, over 3 foot deep in total.
The red Road Closed sign and Police Road Closed signs have been replaced by Flood warning signs and as the underlying problem remains for the moment (and the pump not running continuously) there can be no guarantee that the road will be clear so it is recommended to use the top road via Sandley. For those approaching from the BW side at night there is virtually no warning as the road drops very quickly around the blind bend of the bridge.
To avoid the bridge, the top road through Sandley and down via Shepherds Hill is approximately a 3 miles detour. According to those who have pulled cars out since before Christmas, ten cars have had to be rescued including a Landrover with quite a few written off. Apparently, one just before Christmas had a young family and a car load of presents: they were rescued from the flooded car by firemen who then took them home – in the fire engine!