JOURNEY times on one of the busiest roads into Southampton could be slashed by half as part of multi-million-pound upgrade plans.

City transport bosses want to scrap “outdated” traffic lights at 10 junctions on busy Bursledon Road in place of new and more efficient signals.

Experts say upgrading the lights, between Botley Road and White’s Road, will create a more “free-flowing” network.

And once complete, transport chiefs say it could cut morning journeys into Southampton by as much as 50 per cent.

Announcing the plans, Southampton City Council executive member for environment and transport, Jacqui Rayment said: “This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

“It is important because this is a major route into the city.

“This work will cause some initial upheaval which we will try to minimise, but it will be a huge improvement once it is complete.”

The announcement comes after the city council was awarded a £3.7 million grant by the Department for Transport to help fund the scheme.

A further £1.6 million will be paid for from the city council purse.

City transport bosses say they money will mostly be spent on upgrading out-dated signals along Bursledon Road.

The money will also pay for improving and widening turn-offs along the road, allowing through traffic to continue flowing, as well as improving cycling and pedestrian routes.

Transport chiefs estimate that 15,000 vehicles use the road each day, with the majority using it as a link road between the city centre and junction eight of the M27.

But experts say the traffic along Bursledon Road is currently 25 per cent higher than other routes into the city from the motorway.

And they expect 25 per cent more traffic on the road in the near future, with an influx of new homes planned for the nearby Hedge End, Botley and Bursledon areas.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, described the upgrade as “good news for Southampton.

He said: “Bursledon Road is notorious for clogging up so any plans to tackle it are well received.

“Should the desired outcomes be achieved, it will not only relieve the stress of drivers who have to sit in jams day after day, but have a positive impact for the economy of Southampton.

“We would like residents to have a say in the plans to ensure their voices are heard, and that any further benefits can be identified before the works begin.

“While there will be short term pain while the works are ongoing, everyone will hope to benefit from the long term gains these upgrades seek to deliver.”

The upgrade, which could take a year to complete, makes-up part of the wider £130 million improvements planned for the M27 junction eight.

A final decision on the proposals is expected to be announced in February.